The effects of sodium oxybate on core body and skin temperature regulation in narcolepsy

A. Heide, C.E.H.M. Donjacour, H. Pijl, R.H.A.M. Reijntjes, S. Overeem, G.J. Lammers, E.J.W. van Someren, R. Fronczek

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Patients suffering from narcolepsy type 1 show altered skin temperatures, resembling the profile that is related to sleep onset in healthy controls. The aim of the present study is to investigate the effects of sodium oxybate, a widely used drug to treat narcolepsy, on the 24-h profiles of temperature and sleep-wakefulness in patients with narcolepsy and controls. Eight hypocretin-deficient male narcolepsy type 1 patients and eight healthy matched controls underwent temperature measurement of core body and proximal and distal skin twice, and the sleep-wake state for 24 h. After the baseline assessment, 2 × 3 g of sodium oxybate was administered for 5 nights, immediately followed by the second assessment. At baseline, daytime core body temperature and proximal skin temperature were significantly lower in patients with narcolepsy (core: 36.8 ± 0.05 °C versus 37.0 ± 0.05 °C, F = 8.31, P = 0.01; proximal: 33.4 ± 0.26 °C versus 34.3 ± 0.26 °C, F = 5.66, P = 0.03). In patients, sodium oxybate administration increased proximal skin temperature during the day (F = 6.46, P = 0.04) to a level similar as in controls, but did not affect core body temperature, distal temperature or distal-proximal temperature gradient. Sodium oxybate administration normalised the predictive value of distal skin temperature and distal-proximal temperature gradient for the onset of daytime naps (P < 0.01). In conclusion, sodium oxybate administration resulted in a partial normalisation of the skin temperature profile, by increasing daytime proximal skin temperature, and by strengthening the known relationship between skin temperature and daytime sleep propensity. These changes seem to be related to the clinical improvement induced by sodium oxybate treatment. A causal relationship is not proven.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)566-575
JournalJournal of sleep research
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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