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Role of protriptyline and acetazolamide in the sleep apnea/hypopnea syndrome.

Author(s): Whyte KF, Gould GA, Airlie MA, Shapiro CM, Douglas NJ

Affiliation(s): Rayne Laboratory, Department of Respiratory Medicine, University of Edinburgh, Scotland.

Publication date & source: 1988-10, Sleep., 11(5):463-72.

Publication type: Clinical Trial; Randomized Controlled Trial

The role of drug therapy in the treatment of the sleep apnea/hypopnea syndrome is unclear. In a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled study, we investigated the value of 14-day therapy with protriptyline (20 mg daily) or acetazolamide (250 mg 4 times per day) on symptoms and on the frequency of apneas, hypopneas, arousals, and 4% desaturations in 10 patients with obstructive sleep apnea/hypopnea syndrome. Overall, protriptyline did not have a significant effect either on symptoms or on any of the above polysomnographic criteria. Acetazolamide reduced the apnea/hypopnea frequency [placebo 50 +/- 26 (SD); acetazolamide 26 +/- 20/h of sleep, p less than 0.03] and tended to decrease the frequency of 4% desaturations (placebo 29 +/- 20; acetazolamide 19 +/- 16/h of sleep, p = 0.06). Despite these physiological improvements, acetazolamide did not significantly improve symptoms and paraesthesiae were common. Contrary to earlier studies, we conclude that protriptyline may have a limited role in the treatment of the sleep apnea syndrome. The reason why acetazolamide produced a physiological, but not a symptomatic, response requires further investigation.

Page last updated: 2006-01-31

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