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Pitolisant hydrochloride for obstructive sleep apnoea


Respiratory Disease and Thoracic Surgery

March 2016

Obstructive sleep apnoea is caused by a repetitive relaxing of the throat muscles during sleep which leads to the airway becoming repeatedly blocked off. Difficulties in breathing during the night causes patients to wake up suddenly, have an interrupted nights’ sleep, and feel sleepy during the daytime. Obstructive sleep apnoea is often linked to being overweight, smoking, drugs, drinking alcohol, and a poor sleeping routine. However, if changing these factors does not improve symptoms, patients may be advised to use a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine at night time, but not all patients are able to tolerate CPAP therapy.
Pitolisant hydrochloride is a new drug that may improve daytime sleepiness in patients with obstructive sleep apnoea. It is taken once daily as a tablet. Pitolisant hydrochloride is currently being studied to see how well it works and whether it is safe to use in people with obstructive sleep apnoea.
If pitolisant hydrochloride drug licensed for use in the UK, it would be the first drug for obstructive sleep apnoea that could be taken as a tablet. It could be particularly helpful for people who still suffer excessive daytime sleepiness despite CPAP therapy, or for patients who do not wish to use a CPAP machine.

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