We are all familiar with sluggish feelings and lethargy, especially in the afternoon. However, for those who suffer from obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), this weariness is much more severe.
Now, a team of researchers has identified a drug that can ease the suffering of the affected people. Excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS) is the tendency to fall asleep during normal waking hours. The condition worsens among people with OSA as it hampers their daily activities.
Although a positive airway pressure (PAP) mask is usually recommended to people with OSA, it doesn’t provide much help with daytime sleepiness.
Tyler Pitre, from McMaster University in Canada and his team reviewed 14 previous clinical trials involving 3,085 people with OSA and EDS, looking at the comparative effectiveness of three anti-fatigue medications: solriamfetol, armodafinil-modafinil, and pitolisant.
Solriamfetol is an wakefulness-promoting drug used in the treatment of excessive sleepiness related to narcolepsy and sleep apnea. Meanwhile, armodafinil-modafinil and Pitolisant are prescribed to treat sleep-related disorders.
The scientists found that all three drugs were more effective than placebos at combating EDS, to varying degrees. When the researchers combined the studies they found that solriamfetol was most effective against wakefulness.
However, the researchers also found that side effects could be an issue with armodafinil-modafinil and solriamfetol. They also observed that patients were more likely to stop using armodafinil-modafinil. Reportedly, solriamfetol has been linked to an increase in blood pressure.
According to the researchers, solriamfetol is more effective because it results in the increase of norepinephrine (readying the body for action) and dopamine (linked to pleasure and motivation) levels in the brain.
“It would be interesting to see how effective these anti-fatigue medications will be for treating related illnesses such as chronic fatigue syndrome and long COVID, now that we know they work for a similar condition,” assistant anesthesia professor Dena Zeraatkar, from McMaster University said in a statement.
According to media reports, armodafinil-modafinil and solriamfetol are already prescribed for OSA and EDS, with pitolisant still under review by the USFDA. It is noteworthy that this is the first time that these drugs have been compared against each other in this particular fashion.
The findings of this study were published in the Annals of Internal Medicine journal.