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Kleine-Levin syndrome
ICD-10 G478
ICD-9 327.13
OMIM 148840
DiseasesDB 29520
MedlinePlus [1]
eMedicine /
MeSH {{{MeshNumber}}}

Kleine-Levin Syndrome, or KLS, is a rare disorder characterized by the need for excessive amounts of sleep (hypersomnia), (e.g. up to 20 hours a day); excessive food intake (compulsive hyperphagia); and an abnormally uninhibited sexual drive. Adolescent males are the predominant victims of the disorder.


Individual sufferers may often become irritable, lethargic, and/or apathetic. KLS patients may appear disoriented and report hallucinations. Symptoms are cyclical; with days to weeks (even up to months) of suffering interspersed by weeks or months (even up to years) symptom-free. Although resolution of the disorder may occur for some in later life, this is not universal.


While some researchers speculate of a hereditary predisposition; others believe the condition may be the result of an autoimmune disorder.[1] Both proposals need not be mutually exclusive with the result being a malfunction of the portion of the brain that helps to regulate functions such as sleep, appetite, and body temperature (hypothalamus).

Similarities between KLS and Klüver-Bucy syndrome (another rare condition characterized by hyperphagia, hypersexuality, and emotional blunting) may warrant further attention.


There is no definitive treatment for Kleine-Levin syndrome. Stimulants, including amphetamines, methylphenidate, imipramine and modafinil, administered orally, are used to treat sleepiness. Because of similarities between Kleine-Levin syndrome and certain mood disorders, lithium and carbamazepine may be prescribed. Responses to treatment have often been limited. This disorder needs to be differentiated from cyclic re-occurrence of sleepiness during the premenstrual period in teenage girls that may be controlled with hormonal contraception. [2]


It is named for Willi Kleine and Max Levin.[3][4][5]


  3. Who Named It synd/1398
  4. W. Kleine. Periodische Schlafsucht. Monatsschrift für Psychiatrie und Neurologie, 1925, 57: 285-320.
  5. M. Levin. Periodic somnolence and morbid hunger: A new syndrome. Brain, Oxford, 1936, 59: 494-504.

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