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The information provided here is meant to give you a general idea about each of the medications listed below. Only the most general side effects are included. Ask your doctor if you need to take any special precautions. Use each of these medications as recommended by your doctor, or according to the instructions provided. If you have further questions about usage or side effects, talk to your doctor.

Prescription Medications  

Stimulants

  • Mazindol (Mazanor, Sanorex)
  • Modafinil (Provigil)
  • Armodafinil (Nuvigil)
  • Methylphenidate
  • Dextroamphetamine

Tricyclic antidepressants

  • Imipramine (Tofranil)
  • Desipramine (Norpramin)
  • Clomipramine (Anafranil)
  • Protriptyline (Vivactil)

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)

  • Fluoxetine (Prozac)
  • Paroxetine (Paxil)
  • Sertraline (Zoloft)
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Stimulants  

Common names include:

  • Methylphenidate (Ritalin)
  • Dextroamphetamine (Dexedrine)
  • Mazindol (Mazanor, Sanorex)
  • Modafinil (Provigil)
  • Armodafinil (Nuvigil)

Stimulants can help you be more alert and awake. While using stimulant medications, you should take the following precautions:

  • To avoid difficulty sleeping at night, ask your doctor about taking your last dose before 6:00 pm.
  • Do not suddenly stop taking a stimulant drug.
  • Have your doctor approve any other medications you take while you are using stimulant medications. Stimulants can interact with a number of over-the-counter medications.
  • If you are taking sustained-release tablets, never crush or chew them.
  • If you have a history of seizures, tell your doctor. Your medications will have to be carefully chosen.

You may experience the following side effects:

  • Decreased appetite with potential weight loss
  • Insomnia
  • High blood pressure
  • Increased agitation, anxiety, jitteriness, or jumpiness
  • Vomiting, nausea, decreased appetite
  • Increased heart rate and arrhythmia
  • Lightheadedness, drowsiness, or blurred vision
  • Serious rash

Note: You may notice these things when you first begin taking a stimulant medication. Until you know how the medication will affect you, you should avoid driving, operating machinery, and doing hazardous activities.

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Tricyclic Antidepressants  

Common names include:

  • Imipramine (Tofranil)
  • Desipramine (Norpramin)
  • Clomipramine (Anafranil)
  • Protriptyline (Vivactil)

You may be given a tricyclic antidepressant if you have symptoms, such as attacks of weakness, hallucinations as sleep begins, or sleep paralysis. To avoid stomach upset, take your tricyclic antidepressants with food, unless your doctor has told you otherwise.

Possible side effects include:

  • Dry mouth
  • Lightheadedness, drowsiness, or blurred vision
  • Low or high blood pressure
  • Constipation
  • Increased effects from alcohol, sleeping pills, tranquilizers, or sedatives
  • Sensitivity to sun
  • Blood sugar changes in people with diabetes
  • Hyperthermia—elevated body temperature
  • Risk of severe mood and behavior changes, including suicidal thoughts in some patients. Young adults may be at a higher risk for this side effect.

Anticataplexy Medication  

  • Sodium oxybate (Xyrem)

Sodium oxybate is used to treat cataplexy. It is a drug that can be abused, so it is a controlled substance. Abuse can cause serious problems, such as trouble breathing, seizures, loss of consciousness, coma, and death. Abuse can also lead to dependence, craving, and withdrawal symptoms. If you are prescribed sodium oxybate, you will have to get the medicine from one central pharmacy. It is not available anywhere else.

Sodium oxybate can reduce the number of cataplexy attacks. But, it must be taken exa