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Combination of Cold and Flu Medication Therapy Do Not Improve Obstructive Sleep Apnea Severity, Study Shows

According to a recent study that combination treatment with pseudoephedrine and diphenhydramine has failed to improve obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) severity or genioglossus responsiveness. However, it has led to a slight improvement in upper airway collapsibility, possibly due to the decongesting effect of the medications.

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Researchers determined the effects of the combination of an alpha-1 adrenergic agonist (pseudoephedrine) and an antihistaminic-antimuscarinic (diphenhydramine) on OSA severity (AHI), genioglossus responsiveness, and other endotypic traits (i.e., ventilation at eupneic drive – Vpassive, muscle compensation, loop gain, and arousal threshold).

There were 10 OSA patients were included in the randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind, crossover trial that compared one night of pseudoephedrine 120mg plus diphenhydramine 50mg to placebo administered before sleeping. Researchers measured the AHI, genioglossus muscle responsiveness to negative esophageal pressure, and the endotypic traits via polysomnography.

Participants had an average age of 50 years and body mass index (BMI) of 34.3 kg/m2.

Combined treatment revealed no substantial effect on AHI or genioglossus responsiveness. Among the phenotypic traits, only Vpassive showed an improvement.

Researchers said that the results of the study do not support the use of these medications for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).


Source: Respirology 2021

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