Eli Lilly Says Zepbound Can Ease Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Studies revealed that the medication reduced sleep apnea severity by nearly two-thirds
Eli Lilly Says Zepbound Can Ease Obstructive Sleep Apnea
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WEDNESDAY, April 17, 2024 (HealthDay News) -- Eli Lilly announced Wednesday that in two company trials, Zepbound was found to ease sleep apnea in adults with obesity.

First approved to treat obesity by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration last November, the power of Zepbound was significant: It reduced sleep apnea severity by nearly two-thirds in patients.

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) "impacts 80 million adults in the U.S., with more than 20 million living with moderate-to-severe OSA. However, 85 percent of OSA cases go undiagnosed and therefore untreated," Jeff Emmick, M.D., senior vice president of product development at Lilly, said in a company news release announcing the results. "Addressing this unmet need head-on is critical, and while there are pharmaceutical treatments for the excessive sleepiness associated with OSA, tirzepatide [Zepbound] has the potential to be the first pharmaceutical treatment for the underlying disease."

The results have not yet been published in a peer-reviewed medical journal.

In the two studies, researchers looked at whether Zepbound worked better than a placebo in reducing how many times per hour, on average, a person partly or fully stopped breathing while sleeping. In the first study, sleep apnea patients did not use positive airway pressure (PAP) machines. Patients in the second study did use the machines.

After 52 weeks, Zepbound prompted an average reduction of 27.4 events per hour in people who were not on PAP machines compared with a reduction of 4.8 events per hour for people on a placebo. In people who did use PAP machines, Zepbound led to an average reduction of 30.4 events per hour compared with an average reduction of six events per hour in the placebo group.

Lilly said Wednesday that it plans to share additional findings from the studies at the American Diabetes Association annual meeting in June, and it will also submit the results to the FDA sometime this summer.

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