In a study from Flinders University, scientists found a drug in development for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) has shown promising results in human participants.
The treatment was designed to prevent the narrowing or collapse of the upper airways during sleep, a key factor in OSA.
It could prove to be a potential alternative for certain people with OSA to continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines, which can only be tolerated by about half of all OSA sufferers.
While further rigorous clinical evaluation and testing are required, this is a great first step and should offer some hope to the many people worldwide who suffer from sleep apnea.
OSA is one of the most common sleep-related breathing disorders, with an estimated one billion sufferers, and when untreated is associated with major health and safety consequences.
Currently, there are no approved drug treatments for OSA. However, with advances in our understanding of the different reasons people get OSA, the potential for effective new medications is growing stronger each year.
In the study, the team tested the drug on 12 people with OSA using either nasal drops, a nasal spray, or via a direct application using an endoscope, versus a placebo.
They monitored for sleep and airway activity across several sessions and found consistent and sustained improvements in the patient’s airways staying open throughout sleep, compared to the placebo treatment, regardless of the delivery method used.
The findings represent the first detailed investigation of this new treatment in people with OSA, with promising results.
The team says the drug is designed to target specific receptors that are expressed on the surface of the upper airways, triggering them more easily to activate the surrounding muscles to keep the airway open during sleep.
While there’s still a long way to go in terms of clinical testing and development, the study shows targeting these receptors may be a promising avenue for future treatments.
If you care about sleep, please read studies about herbs that could help you sleep well at night, and these drugs could lower the severity of sleep apnea by one-third.
For more information about sleep, please see recent studies that common anxiety and sleep drugs may harm your cognitive functions, and results showing weight loss and lifestyle change could reduce the severity of sleep apnea.
The study was conducted by Professor Danny Eckeart et al and published in the journal Chest.
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