University of Western Australia: Snooze for science and help find a therapy for sleep apnoea

The Centre for Sleep Science at The University of Western Australia is investigating whether a new therapy will reduce the severity of obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) and is looking for participants to take part in a nine-week trial.

OSA is a common condition, characterised by repeated partial or complete collapse of the upper airway during sleep. Common symptoms include snoring, waking feeling unrefreshed and excessive daytime sleepiness.

OSA has serious health consequences and is linked to poor health outcomes, including contributing to cardiovascular disease, stroke, hypertension, diabetes and insulin resistance, and decreased cognitive function and quality of life.

For the first time, the OSA study is using a combination of dronabinol, which is a synthetic Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), and acetazolamide.

There is some evidence that both medications on their own can reduce the severity of OSA and the trial hopes to see whether a combination of the two provides an even greater benefit.

To be eligible for the trial, participants must have moderate to severe OSA but are otherwise generally in good health, are aged 21 to 65 and not using a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure device or mandibular advancement splint.

It is possible that the medication may affect driving, so participants will not be allowed to drive for the duration of the trial. However, they will be reimbursed to cover the cost of transport throughout.