Unsurprisingly, four out of ten adults experience regular poor sleep. We all know the consequences of a bad night’s rest on our health, performance and mood, as well as the crippling caffeine addiction that develops.
*Sips double shot oat milk latte*
People with Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA) have it worse. OSA is characterised by partial or sometimes, complete obstruction of the upper airways during sleep. It’s a major public health concern and has both short term and long term effects on an individual’s health.
There is currently no drug treatment for people with OSA, and not everyone is responsive to existing therapies.
But, there is one drug in particular currently undergoing clinical trials, and the active ingredient may surprise you.
Yep, we’re talking about cannabis… and the stuff seems to be more than a passing fad with credible research starting to compound and products emerging on the market.
Incannex (ASX: IHL) is a clinical stage pharmaceutical development company that is investigating the effects of their cannabinoid drug IHL-42X on the Apnoea Hypopnea Index in adults diagnosed with OSA.
The Company has partnered with the University of Western Australia’s (UWA) Centre for Sleep Science to expand their phase 2b dose-finding study to become a multi-site research operation. The UWA study will run alongside the one being conducted at The Alfred Hospital in Melbourne.
CEO and Managing Director of Incannex Healthcare, Joel Latham is enthusiastic about this partnership, saying “UWA is the only academic institution in Australia that has experience in conducting research on cannabinoids and sleep disorders.”
“Our partnership with UWA, also puts us in good stead for the next steps in the IHL-42X development program because pivotal studies necessary for FDA registration will require multi-site patient examinations.”
The randomised, double- blind, placebo controlled dose ranging phase 2b clinical trial aims to find the optimal dose, with three being examined. The primary goal is to see a reduction in the Apnoea Hypopnea Index of participants. In addition, participants are being monitored for alertness, daytime sleepiness, mood and quality of life.
The main treatment option for people suffering from OSA is to use a mechanical CPAP device when sleeping. However, patient compliance is low as the device is intrusive and often uncomfortable. The global annual market for OSA diagnosis and CPAP intervention is over US $10 billion per year.
Dr. Jen Walsh, Director of the UWA Centre for Sleep Science says that “it is exciting to be working with Incannex on this trial of an alternate treatment option. Even patients who can tolerate existing therapies for their OSA would sometimes like the option to take a medication, rather than sleep with a device.”
Deloitte Access Economics estimated that the direct economic costs due to OSA in Australia are in excess of $21 billion per year. This is due to loss of productive work days and co-morbidities of OSA such as cardiovascular problems and depression.