Hypersomnia means excessive sleepiness and sleeping, when the person struggles to stay awake during the day and has great difficulty being awakened from sleep. When there is no clear cause, this condition is called idiopathic hypersomnia (IH). Narcolepsy is a rare long-term brain disorder that causes a person to suddenly fall asleep at inappropriate times. Sometimes narcolepsy is associated with temporary loss of muscle control that causes weakness and possible collapse (cataplexy). This type of narcolepsy is called Type 1 narcolepsy. When narcolepsy is not associated with cataplexy is called type 2 narcolepsy. Narcolepsy and IH are very similar conditions.
Pentetrazol is a medicinal product that is being developed for the treatment of IH and narcolepsy type 2. Pentetrazol is administered orally and it acts by blocking the effect of a chemical substance called Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid (GABA). GABA is thought to play a role in promoting sleeping and is believed to be elevated in people with IH. If licensed, Pentetrazol will offer a new treatment option for patients with IH or narcolepsy type 2.
BIIB092 is a product that is being investigated for the treatment of progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP). PSP is a rare condition that is a result of destruction of nerve cells in certain parts of the brain causing problems with balance, movement, vision, speech and swallowing. In patients with PSP, an abnormal form of a protein called tau accumulates in specific areas of the brain by spreading from brain cell to brain cell leading to their damage. Over time, PSP gets progressively worse, with people becoming severely disabled within three to five years of onset. Currently, there is no cure for PSP and no treatment to slow down the disease.