London, Apr 14 : People with snoring spouses would no more be spending sleepless nights, for the scientists claim that a daily pill may help manage your partner's obstructive sleep apnoea syndrome (OSA).
OSA is a condition that causes people to stop breathing sporadically during sleep, often making them excessively tired and moody.
Around one in every 20 middle-aged men and one in 50 women suffer from the common sleeping disorder that arises when the upper airway becomes narrow as the muscles relax naturally during sleep.
This reduces oxygen in the blood and prevents from having a restful sleep.
The pill, known by the code-name BGC20-0166, is a blend of two existing drugs that functions by affecting areas of the brain linked with increased muscle tone and air-flow in breathing.
The study involved 39 OSA patients that were given a placebo, one of the two drugs that make up the new compound, or one or two doses of BGC20-0166 daily for 28 days.
The researchers further recorded frequency and severity of breathing pauses during sleep for 14 days and again after 28 days.
The findings revealed that high-dose combination of the drug reduced OSA symptoms by an average 40 per cent with no side effects.
Also three of the ten patients showed 50 per cent reduction in symptoms and were considered to have responded completely to treatment.
"The results from this trial demonstrate the potential of this pharmacotherapy to decrease sleep apnoea in some patients and to normalise it in others," Times Online quoted Thomas Roth, director of the Sleep Disorders and Research Centre at the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit and an adviser to BTG, as saying.
"Future research is needed to more precisely define the role of BGC20-0166," he added.
Michael Polkey, a specialist in sleep and respiratory medicine at the Royal Brompton Hospital, Southwest London, said that the results were motivating
"This is the first drug therapy that may have an effect without changing sleep architecture," he said.
"A variety of existing drugs reduce the quantity of REM sleep and thus, since OSA is often worse in REM, also reduce symptoms.
"The magnitude of effect was not enormous so CPAP will remain the first choice but if in larger studies the results are confirmed it may have a place as an adjunctive therapy for milder patients or those who are intolerant of CPAP," he added.