Cleveland Clinic: A new drug may soon be available to treat this rare sleep disorder.

Sleep specialist Nancy Foldvary-Schaefer, DO, MS, is an investigator in medical trials of lower-sodium oxybate, a new medication undergoing review by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to become the first approved treatment for IH. She talks about idiopathic hypersomnia, including why it’s so understudied, and what this new medication may be able to do for people with IH.

There’s being sleepy, and then there’s having idiopathic hypersomnia. IH is characterized by chronic excessive daytime sleepiness (known as EDS) that interferes with normal daily activities, such as work and hobbies.

“People with IH have an irresistible need to sleep for long periods of time,” Dr. Foldvary-Schaefer explains, “but their sleep is not refreshing.”

A new drug in the works is expected to become the first FDA-approved drug for idiopathic hypersomnia. Trial research shows that lower-sodium oxybate (LXB) meaningfully reduces symptoms of IH and is generally well tolerated by patients.

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