Jan Hedner, MD, PhD: Current Therapeutic Landscape of Obstructive Sleep Apnea


Recent research has identified novel potential pathophysiological mechanisms that could potentially serve to subclassify various phenotypes in obstructive sleep apnea.

“At this stage there’s no single therapy and we’ve actually being lacking in that for quite a long time.”

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a space that’s been lacking treatment options for quite a while, however, in the last year or so, promising research has identified different novel pathophysiological mechanisms that could potentially serve to subclassify various phenotypes in sleep apnea. The identification of these subtypes could offer novel strategies in drug development that may lead to new and effective therapies targeting more specific mechanisms to treat sleep apnea.

To provide more insight on the current landscape of pharmacological therapies for obstructive sleep apnea, NeurologyLive spoke with Jan Hedner, MD, PhD, professor of sleep medicine, family medicine, Sahlgrenska University Hospital, Gotenburg, at the Congress of the European Sleep Research Society in Basel, Switzerland.

Hedner mentioned that development for new clinical therapies have been ongoing for the last 2 or 3 years and that while not all of the data are available, each mechanism is quite different. As additional information is collected, a challenge arises: Since sleep apnea has been treated by mechanical methods selectively, these new therapies currently under investigation are first-in-class and there are many open questions.

While previous therapies have been quite disappointing, Hedner concluded, in the future, he hopes to see ongoing clinical trial programs for at least 2 or 3 of these new drugs and that development takes off quite soon, providing a more diversified view on how these drugs may work and could benefit patients.

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