Home Health A new pill to combat the common cause of loud snoring could be on the way, as a trial finds that disturbed breathing and interrupted sleep are halved in participants.

A new pill to combat the common cause of loud snoring could be on the way, as a trial finds that disturbed breathing and interrupted sleep are halved in participants.

0 comment
Trials of a new pill for heavy snorers almost halved symptoms such as labored breathing and interrupted sleep (file photo)
  • First drug treatment, known as AD109, could help 1.5 million adults in the UK

A new nighttime pill could help eliminate loud snoring.

In trials, many volunteers saw symptoms such as disturbed breathing and sleep interrupted by almost half.

The pill, potentially the first drug treatment for heavy snorers, is thought to work by strengthening airway muscles to prevent tissue from collapsing and blocking airflow.

This is the main cause of obstructive sleep apnea, the snoring condition that affects around 1.5 million adults in the UK.

As the throat muscles relax during sleep, the surrounding tissue narrows or blocks the airway, disrupting normal breathing.

Trials of a new pill for heavy snorers almost halved symptoms such as labored breathing and interrupted sleep (file photo)

People with sleep apnea endure repeated interruptions in their breathing lasting ten seconds or more, until lack of oxygen causes the brain to resume breathing.

Symptoms include loud snoring, noisy, labored breathing, and daytime fatigue. Those affected usually do not remember the interruptions. Untreated sleep apnea can increase the risk of stroke and heart disease.

The main treatment for sleep apnea is continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), which involves wearing a mask at night connected to a pump to direct pressurized air into the airways to prevent them from closing.

Although it is effective, many people find it difficult to use it in bed. Up to 70 percent of patients receiving CPAP abandon the device due to discomfort, the journal BMC Pulmonary Medicine reported last year.

The pill, known as AD109, is a combination of two existing medications: aroxybutynin, a modified version of oxybutynin (already used to treat overactive bladder), and atomoxetine (used for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder).

Both drugs have effects on muscle activation and tone. Previous animal studies have suggested that they strengthen the genioglossus muscle, which helps keep the upper airways open.

The pill, known as AD109, is a combination of two existing drugs: aroxybutynin and atomoxetine.

The pill, known as AD109, is a combination of two existing drugs: aroxybutynin and atomoxetine.

In a recent trial of the pill in the United States, 211 people with sleep apnea were given AD109 or dummy pills to take at night for four weeks. They then underwent polysomnography, where sensors attached to the body measure brain waves, oxygen levels, heart rate and breathing during sleep.

The results, published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine earlier this year, showed that after four weeks the overall symptom score had more than halved in 44 percent of those who took the AD109 tablet.

Many went from an average of 45 sleep interruptions per hour to fewer than ten. Daytime fatigue was also reduced and side effects were relatively minor. The most common was dry mouth.

A larger trial is now being organized, involving 1,500 patients.

Commenting on the findings, Professor Jaydip Ray, a sleep apnea expert at the University of Sheffield, said: “A tablet could revolutionize our treatment of this condition, but we need to see the results of larger trials.”

You may also like