A synthetic cannabis-like drug in a pill was safe and effective in treating obstructive sleep apnea in the first large multi-site study of a drug for apnea funded by the National Institutes of Health. The study was conducted at Northwestern Medicine and the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC).
There is currently no drug treatment for sleep apnea, a sleep breathing disorder affecting about 30 million individuals in the United States. In sleep apnea, breathing is interrupted, and these pauses can last from a few seconds to minutes and may occur 30 times or more an hour. Untreated apnea raises the risk of heart disease, diabetes, sleepiness, cognitive impairment and a motor vehicle accident.
Participants in the trial had reduced apnea and decreased subjective sleepiness.
The common treatment for sleep apnea is a CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) device that delivers air (acting like an air splint) to prevent collapse of the