Two pills might be all it takes to treat some cases of sleep apnea. A promising new study found the combination of pseudoephedrine and domperidone dramatically cut down on the loud snoring typically associated with the disorder.
Researchers tested the treatment on 23 patients who reported severe snoring and episodes of sleep apnea.
Both drugs are widely used to treat symptoms researchers assumed might contribute to sleep apnea. Domperidone, or Motilium, is used to treat acid reflux by helping clear the stomach of acids and other juices. Pseudoephedrine is an ingredient in cold medicines that reduces nasal congestion.
Researchers believed the combination would reduce inflammation in patients’ throats and stop nasal congestion from causing a vacuum effect that causes the tongue to obstruct breathing.
Participants completed the Epworth Sleepiness Scale and received a home oxygen monitoring test before and after receiving the therapy. All but one of the patients’ scores significantly dropped, meaning there was a measurable improvement in their sleep quality. The average decrease was 9.9 points. 17 subjects reported they no longer snored or had episodes of sleep apnea after taking the medication.
The findings are promising but further research is needed before the treatment becomes available. None of the patients received a clinical sleep study. The study instead relied on sleep questionnaires and oxygen testing. Researchers promise to follow up on the study in the future.
Obstructive sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder that causes your body to stop breathing during sleep. It happens when the tissue in the back of the throat collapses and blocks the airway, keeping air from getting into the lungs. Currently, there are no drugs treatments for sleep apnea.
Read the entire study in the most recent issue of the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine.