Potential therapeutic targets in obstructive sleep apnoea

Expert Opin Ther Targets. 2009 Jul;13(7):795-809. doi: 10.1517/14728220903005608.


Obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) is a disease of ever-increasing importance due to its association with multiple impairments and rising prevalence in an increasingly susceptible demographic. The syndrome is linked with loud snoring, disrupted sleep and observed apnoeas. Serious co-morbidities associated with OSA appear to be reversed by continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) treatment; however, CPAP is variably tolerated leaving many patients untreated and emphasising the need for alternative treatments. Virtually all OSA patients have airways that are anatomically vulnerable to collapse, but numerous pathophysiological factors underlie when and how OSA is manifested. This review describes how the complexity of OSA requires multiple treatment approaches that are individually targeted. This approach may take the form of more specific diagnoses in terms of the mechanisms underlying OSA as well as rational pharmacological treatment directed toward such disparate ends as arousal threshold and ventilatory control/chemosensitivity, and mechanical treatment in the form of surgery and augmentation of lung volumes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Continuous Positive Airway Pressure / adverse effects
  • Continuous Positive Airway Pressure / methods*
  • Drug Delivery Systems*
  • Humans
  • Lung Volume Measurements
  • Respiratory Mechanics
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / epidemiology
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / physiopathology
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / therapy*