The secret to a good night's sleep may have been discovered, as scientists reveal a pill that could combat snoring
If you’re one of the estimated three million people in Britain who suffer with snoring, then read on as we might just make your day.
A new pill has been proven to slash snoring rates by 70%, according to a small U.S. trial. As a result, the drug is about to go through larger studies and could be a breakthrough in the treatment of sleep apnoea.
The six-month study involving 45 patients suggests the pill could be the first to tackle snoring, and could even reduce the risks of high blood pressure and heart disease linked with the sleep disorder.
The drug, called Qnexa, was originally developed as a weight loss medicine and contains a mixture of a stimulant dug called phentermine and an anti-epilepsy drug called topiramate.
Snoring is the result of narrowing of the airways. As we enter sleep our airways relax. For most, this does not cause a problem. But for those who suffer with the condition, it leads to a complete collapse that stops breathing for at least ten seconds.
Realising that breathing has stopped, the brain sends out a signal for the airway muscle to contract again, causing the sufferer to wake with a jolt and a snore.
The problem is particularly common in middle-aged people who are overweight as this excess weight puts pressure on the upper airways during sleep.
Professor Jim Horne, a specialist in sleep medicine at Loughborough University, said: ‘Around 50% of obese people suffer sleep apnoea.
‘When they lie down in bed, their muscles relax and then the fat around their neck compresses the airway even further. It’s possible this drug helps by triggering weight loss.
‘Or it might be that it somehow makes the throat muscles a bit more taut.
‘We won’t know whether it is any use to habitual snorers who are not overweight until more research has been carried out.’