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A Drug Cocktail May Improve Sleep Apnea Symptoms, But Not in the USA

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A team of Australian researchers has discovered that a two-drug cocktail can improve Obstructive Sleep Apnea symptoms. The researchers used two already-approved drugs together, and found a 30% improvement in the patients’ AHI and oxygen saturation. One of the drugs, Reboxetine, was a norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor. The other, Hyoscine butyl bromide, is an antispasmodic drug. The researchers chose these drugs because both are known to affect the muscles that surround the airway.

The team hopes that a pharmaceutical option for treating OSA could improve outcomes for patients who can’t lose weight or tolerate PAP machines. For instance, the drug cocktail could be combined with oral appliance therapy (OAT) could lead to better outcomes than OAT alone.

Why You Won’t Be Getting This Treatment Any Time Soon

So what’s the catch? While both of these drugs are readily available in Australia and Europe, neither is approved for use in the United States. So, for our patients, this sort of intervention is a long way off.

On the other hand, it means that there are probably similar drug combos out there that could use drugs already approved in the United States. As researchers continue to look at these combos, we can get closer to a day when we can offer our patients more options for treating their sleep-disordered breathing.

If you’re a practitioner interested in these and other recent developments in sleep medicine, reserve your space at my sleep summit! You’ll have a chance to network with other dentists who care about identifying and treating OSA while getting updates on the field. If you’re a patient who suspects that you or a family member may suffer from Sleep Disordered Breathing and want to know more, my book Airway is Life is a good, easy-to-understand intro to the subject!