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Obesity Drug Said to Reduce Sleep Apnea

From UPI Health News (Business) (January 7, 2010)

U.S. drug-development company Vivus Inc. said Thursday a clinical study showed its obesity drug Qnexa helped reduce sleep apnea by increasing weight loss.

Vivus of Mountain View, Calif., said Qnexa -- for which it filed for U.S. regulatory approval last week as an obesity treatment -- showed it decreased the incidence of sleep apnea events 69 percent.

Patients on the experimental drug also lost more weight than those who took a placebo, and they registered lower blood pressure and higher oxygen levels during sleep.

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder characterized by long pauses or struggles in breathing during sleep that cause sleep deprivation and are associated with cardiovascular and metabolic diseases.

It affects 1 in 15 Americans, the National Sleep Foundation estimates.

There are no approved pharmaceutical treatments. Treatments currently involve devices or surgery.

Vivus said a 28-week Phase II clinical study of 45 obese men and women suffering from obstructive sleep apnea indicated Qnexa led to a drop in the number of apnea events to an average 14 an hour of sleep from 46 an hour.

Patients taking Qnexa also lost 10.2 percent of their body weight, compared with a 4.3 percent weight loss for placebo patients.

The drug’s most common side-effects are dry mouth, altered taste and sinus infection, the company said.

Qnexa may improve obstructive sleep apnea through other mechanisms in addition to weight loss and additional studies are planned to define those mechanisms, Vivus said.


Posted: January 2010