Photo: Vladislav Muslakov, Unsplash
Sleepless nights from unbearable snoring? Many were there. But a solution could be on the way soon, at least according to scientists developing a pill that could potentially reduce snoring.
Massachusetts-based pharmaceutical company Apnimed in clinical stage has conducted studies of a pill called AD109, which aims to treat obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), which refers to the intermittent relaxation and blockage of the airways during sleep.
OSA causes breathing difficulties during sleep that lead to snoring. The once-a-day pill contains two drugs that have reduced snoring in OSA patients.
In 2018, a separate Boston-based team of researchers conducted a study of 20 patients and found that each had a 50 percent or more reduction in snoring after taking the drugs atomoxetine and oxybutynin.
Atomoxetine is widely used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) by increasing the levels of the chemical norepinephrine in the brain. The Boston-based scientists believe that norepinephrine can help improve the activity of the neck muscles while you sleep. Oxybutynin, on the other hand, is usually used to treat an overactive bladder, but is also believed to prevent a tongue muscle from moving and blocking the throat, which leads to snoring. Phase one of the Apnimed study found that R-oxybutynin was well tolerated and that there were no side effects associated with the study drug.
“The drug is designed to be safe, effective, practical, and address key limitations in current standard treatments,” Apnimed said in a statement.
Apnimed’s study is still in its infancy and experts say it’s too early to say how effective or safe the pill is, but the second phase of studies is set to begin in the fourth quarter of this year.
About 2 to 9 percent of adults in the United States have OSA, but many cases go undiagnosed, according to the Sleep and Health website’s Sleep Foundation.
Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machines are widely used to treat OSA. A CPAP machine uses a hose and a mask to ensure a constant flow of air into the airways. In milder cases, lifestyle changes, such as exercising and avoiding smoking, are usually recommended.