Dr. Kotagal has an interest is in advancing the fields of child neurology and pediatrics through innovations in clinical sleep research.
- Childhood narcolepsy. Research is focused on determining the prevalence of comorbid depression and anxiety in this cohort and evaluating the long term outcome of children treated with sodium oxybate.
- Restless legs syndrome. Research is focused on the feasibility and efficacy of intravenous iron sucrose infusion in patients who are intolerant to oral iron therapy.
Significance to patient care
Narcolepsy-cataplexy is a disorder of overwhelming sleepiness due to deficiency of a brain chemical called hypocretin. It affects both children and adults. The "cataplexy" component leads to sudden muscle weakness and falls to floor during emotional triggers such as laughter. Treatment options for children have been insufficiently explored. Sodium oxybate is a novel medication for treating narcolepsy-cataplexy. Until recently there was insufficient information about its safety and effectiveness in children. Dr. Kotagal and colleagues have had good success in use of this medication. Their studies on sodium oxybate have advanced treatment of children affected by narcolepsy-cataplexy.
Restless legs syndrome (RLS) affects about 2% of all children. It is generally associated with restless sleep and being tired and inattentive during the daytime. Iron deficiency is present in approximately 75% of children with RLS. Unfortunately some patients are unable to tolerate oral iron therapy owing to major side effects. Dr. Kotagal and colleagues have recently studied the effectiveness of an alternative, innovative treatment approach wherein iron sucrose has been provided intravenously with good results. This trial has expanded treatment options for children with RLS.
- Editorial Board Member, Pediatric Neurology, 2006-present
- Executive Board Member, Child Neurology Society, 2011-present
- Executive Board Member (Secretary-Treasurer), Professors of Child Neurology, 2011-present
- Scientific Program Committee member, American Academy of Sleep Medicine, 2008-present
- Consultant, Food and Drug Administration's Neurological and Dental Devices Panel, 2010-present