Weight loss drug reduces sleep apnoea severity by 62%

Man wearing a cap mask while sleeping

Tirzepatide demonstrated a mean reduction of up to 62.8% on the apnoea-hypopnea index (AHI) compared to placebo in the SURMOUNT-OSA Phase III clinical trials.

The drug was tested for the treatment of moderate-to-severe obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) in adults with obesity, with and without positive airway pressure (PAP) therapy.

The results were presented at the American Diabetes Association (ADA) 84th Scientific Sessions.

In the primary endpoint, tirzepatide reduced moderate-to-severe OSA severity by up to 62.8% (about 30 fewer events per hour).

In a key secondary endpoint from two clinical studies, 43% and 51.5% of participants taking tirzepatide at the highest dose reached the criteria for disease resolution as defined by apnoea-hypopnea index and Epworth Sleepiness Scale measures.

Participants treated with tirzepatide in both studies experienced significant improvements in all key secondary endpoints including systolic blood pressure, hypoxic burden, and high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP), an inflammation marker, compared to placebo.

“OSA is a very common, under recognised disease. When untreated, it can lead to many serious adverse health impacts,” said Dr Najib Ayas Professor of Medicine, University of British Columbia. “This is an important study and provides a potential new tool to treat adults living with moderate-to-severe OSA which is greatly needed.”

OSA disease resolution with tirzepatide

Lilly has submitted tirzepatide for the treatment of moderate-to-severe OSA to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and announced plans to initiate submissions for other global regulatory agencies in the coming weeks.

“One in five Canadians are impacted by OSA and this complex disease is linked to very serious health complications,” said Dr Sandy Henderson, Vice President, Medical Director, Lilly Canada. “Tirzepatide demonstrated that patients with moderate-to-severe OSA with obesity were able to achieve OSA disease resolution based on predetermined AHI and ESS measures.”

Tirzepatide is approved as an adjunct to diet and exercise to improve glycaemic control in adults with type 2 diabetes mellitus.

It is also the only approved glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide (GIP) and glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) treatment for chronic weight management, commercialised as Zepbound in the US and Mounjaro in some global markets outside the US.

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