Johan Verbraecken, MD, PhD: Challenges in Conducting Clinical Trials in OSA

October 8, 2018

The medical coordinator of the Multidisciplinary Sleep-Wake Disorders Center at Antwerp University Hospital spoke about how to address some of the issues faced in OSA treatment development.

“We know that more symptomatic patients use CPAP therapy better than less symptomatic patients, so if you want to demonstrate the impact of a drug…compared to CPAP, that is a challenge. ”

When it comes to testing potential therapies to treat patients with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), there are many challenges. For a condition that is already challenging to treat, this has led to hurdles in drug development.

Johan Verbraecken, MD, PhD, a board member of the European Sleep Research Society and the medical coordinator of the Multidisciplinary Sleep-Wake Disorders Center at Antwerp University Hospital, is all too familiar with these challenges. He delivered a presentation on the very topic, and, along with several colleagues, has conducted a recent study which suggested making revisions to the current diagnostic criteria for OSA.

One of the issues Verbraecken has identified is syndrome definition. Using the apnoea-hypopnoea index (AHI), which is the current standard, has become an issue due to the variance between symptom presentation among patients, which can lead to an inability to cross the thresholds for definitive OSA.

At the 24th Congress of the European Sleep Research Society in Basel, Switzerland, Verbraecken sat with NeurologyLive to discuss the rest of these challenges and what could potentially help to improve them.