Pitolisant is a drug that is used to promote wakefulness and so reduce excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS). The licence for pitolisant was also granted on the outcomes of a significant reduction in weekly cataplexy rates compared to placebo.
Pitolisant is a new medication that is not yet widely used. It works by increasing activity of the histamine neurons in the brain. This is different to classic stimulants, and in some cases has been reported to have a lower side effect profile and potentially a more 'natural wakefulness'.
Pitolisant is produced by only one company, under the brand name Wakix. It is a tablet, which comes in two strengths: 4.5mg and 18mg; it is taken once a day, with breakfast.
Because pitolisant is a new medication and is covered by a patent, it is unfortunately much more expensive than the other stimulants, and this may mean that access to this potentially useful new medication is restricted.
SIDE-EFFECTS - As with any medication, the drugs used to treat narcolepsy can have side-effects. These can take many forms. They may be relatively minor, such as mild headaches or a dry mouth, or much more serious, such as anxiety or depression. You should check the Patient Information Leaflet in the packaging of your medication for more details and if you experience any of these side-effects you should consult your doctor.