Raman Malhotra, MD: Highlights From Sleep 2020


The associate professor of neurology at Washington University in St. Louis detailed a number of key presentations on advances and novel medications in the sleep space.

“Things are changing rapidly in the field of sleep medicine, and in medicine, in general.”

This year has shaped up as one full of advances, particularly in the realm of Alzheimer and dementia, with Biogen’s aducanumab slated for an FDA decision that may offer the first approved therapeutic for Alzheimer disease. However, some advancing science in that realm flew somewhat under the radar at the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM)’s annual meeting, SLEEP 2020.

As Raman Malhotra, MD, associate professor of neurology, Washington University in St. Louis, and board of directors, American Academy of Sleep Medicine, pointed out in an interview with NeurologyLive, some of the highlights of that meeting included some preclinical work that suggested that sleep may actually play a role in the progression and/or onset of dementia. This implies that some sleep interventions might hold promise in the fight against dementia, he noted.

Additionally, Malhotra detailed a number of presentations on novel medications in the sleep space, including positive data for solriamfetol (Sunosi; Jazz Pharmaceuticals) and pitolisant (Wakix; Harmony Biosciences), and offered insight into the mechanisms of these therapies and their potential impact.1,2 He also shared his perspective on the overall advances that have been made in sleep medicine, including the steps taken in diagnostics and sleep measurements.

1. Winter W, Wanaski SP, Patroneva A, Dayno JM. Cardiac safety profile of pitolisant in patients with narcolepsy. SLEEP 2020. Abstract 0744.
2. Vinckenbosch F, Asin J, De Vries N, et al. Effects of solriamfetol on driving performance in participants with excessive daytime sleepiness associated with obstructive sleep apnea. Presented virtually at SLEEP 2020. Poster 0673.
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