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A drug cocktail may improve sleep apnea symptoms, but not in the USA
Posted on July 30th, 2021
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 patients’ AHI and oxygen saturation.
One of the drugs, reboxetine, was a norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor. The other drug, 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 there are probably similar drug combinations out there that could use drugs already approved in the United States. As researchers continue to look at these combinations, 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 in the field.
If you’re a patient who suspects that you or a family member may suffer from sleep-disordered breathing and you’d like to know more, my book Airway is Life is a good, easy-to-understand introduction to the subject. And it’s available on Amazon.
Dr. Meghna Dassani has practiced dentistry for over two decades and is passionate about the role dentists play in whole-body health. You can learn more at her website: MeghnaDassani.com.
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