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A Promising Treatment for Sleep Apnea

With 4% of the French population suffering from Sleep Apnea, American researchers believe a treatment could reduce symptoms.


It's a common chronic disease affecting 4% of the French population: obstructive sleep apnea-hypopnea syndrome (OSAHS), better known as Sleep Apnea,. The latter is characterized by "the occurrence of breathing pauses lasting more than ten seconds during sleep, with episodes of interrupted breathing or ventilation (apneas) or reduced breathing or ventilation (hypopneas)", stresses the French respiratory health association Santé respiratoire France. It can lead to complications such as an increased risk of cardiovascular accident.


Tirzepatide may reduce Sleep Apnea symptoms


To reach this conclusion, the researchers conducted two randomized trials involving 469 patients with moderate to severe Sleep Apnea and obesity. Some participants were receiving continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy. This is "the most common treatment for sleep apnea, using a machine to keep the airway open during sleep, thus avoiding interruptions in breathing", explain the researchers.


At the same time, participants were injected with either a placebo or 10 or 15 mg of tirzepatide, a treatment used to manage type 2 diabetes. This stage was double-blind, meaning that neither the researchers nor the participants knew what was being injected. The impact of tirzepatide was evaluated over 52 weeks.


Sleep apnea: researchers need to confirm long-term effects of treatment


The researchers noted that "tirzepatide led to a significant reduction in the number of respiratory interruptions during sleep, a key indicator used to measure the severity of Sleep Apnea". The authors note that this also led to a reduction in risk factors for cardiovascular disease and weight loss.


A press release issued by Eli Lilly, the company that markets tirzepatide, states that "tirzepatide is the only approved treatment based on GIP (glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide) and GLP-1 (glucagon-like peptide-1) for chronic weight management". This hormone, GLP-1, is able to help regulate blood glucose levels and appetite. The laboratory points out that the drug used in this study, called Zepbound, can cause serious side effects such as kidney failure, pancreatitis, severe allergic reaction and suicidal thoughts.


"This study marks an important milestone in the treatment of sleep apnea, offering a promising new therapeutic option that addresses both respiratory and metabolic complications," enthuses lead study author Atul Malhotra, Professor of Medicine at the University of California School of Medicine, USA, and Director of Sleep Medicine at UC San Diego Health, in a press release. Further research is needed, however, to "examine the long-term effects of tirzepatide".

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