Danny Eckert, PhD: Unlocking New Targets For Pharmacological Therapy In OSA


The identification of 3 key non-anatomical contributors to OSA has unlocked new potential pharmacotherapies, a major advance for the field.

“We’ve now identified these 4 main reasons of why people get sleep apnea.”

Current therapies available for obstructive sleep apnea like continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), mandibular advancement splints and upper airway surgery focus on alleviating upper airway anatomical predisposition, and while the CPAP, the main line the therapy is effective, it’s poorly tolerated. Second-line therapies are variable and unpredictable in efficacy. The development of new and efficacious therapies is needed.

In recent years, pathophysiological phenotyping has emerged, and this work has identified 3 key non-anatomical causes of obstructive sleep apnea: impaired upper airway dilator muscle function, a low respiratory arousal threshold, and unstable respiratory control. The identification of these non-anatomical phenotypes has unlocked new targets for pharmacotherapies.

To provide more insight about the latest knowledge in sleep apnea phenotyping and the role it’s playing to develop targeted pharmacotherapies, NeurologyLive sat down with Danny Eckert, PhD, Neuroscience Research Australia, and professor of medicine at the University of New South Wales, at the 24th Congress of the European Sleep Research Society in Basel, Switzerland.

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