Dr Jan Hedner Explores Benefit of Sulthiame, New Avenue in SDB Treatment


Jan Hedner, MD, PhD, finds sulthiame improves sleep quality and reduces daytime sleepiness in patients with sleep-disordered breathing (SDB), offering a potential alternative to continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines. This highlights the growing field of non-CPAP treatments, with personalized medicine being a key focus for future research.

Sleep disordered breathing (SDB) showed signs of improvement when treated with sulthiame (STM), a carbonic anhydrase inhibitor, stated Jan Hedner, MD, PhD, professor of respiratory medicine at Sahlgrenska University Hospital, Gothenburg, Sweden, offering a potential alternative to ontinuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines.

Hedner touched on the benefits STM expressed in sleep quality, hypoxia, and excessive daytime sleepiness.

At the American Thoracic Society 2024 International Conference, Hedner presented research on the efficacy, safety, and tolerability of STM administered in 3 doses among patients with SDB, and more specifically, obstructive sleep apnea.


Current treatments like CPAP can be cumbersome. How do you see STM fitting into the treatment landscape for SDB in the long term, considering potential advantages?

I think that pharmacological therapy, like STM, and also a couple of other solutions that are underway and being tested at the moment, will make a great contribution to the arsenal that we can use to treat sleep apnea. At the current stage, all therapies have been almost purely mechanical, and it's time, I think, to move into the next chapter now. We can think of situations where drugs, preferably could be given alone as a sole therapy, or we can actually combine therapies to a lot higher extent than we are doing today.

Again, there is limited information on this field simply due to that we have not have had any drug candidates so far. We haven't had any tools to test the hypotheses. At the moment, I think we have them at hand so we have an interesting period ahead of us to do that type of testing.

The success of STM highlights the importance of exploring new treatment avenues. What are your thoughts on the current landscape of SDB treatment research? What other areas are emerging?

I think we are really digging into non-CPAP therapies at the moment. It's sort of a fashion period for that, because there's been a lot of other techniques [that have] emerged, such as administration of upper airway pressure, stimulation, or nerves, both internally and externally, and these new drugs solutions, of course. Then there are also a lot of other interesting initiatives being taken on: active muscle training, such as exercise to stabilize your airway, and similar. It's a really exciting time at the moment that we have expansion on new solutions. The keyword for the current development more than anything is personalized medicine, where we go for an individualized therapy, which is so well fitted as possible to the individual patient.

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