Efficacy of atomoxetine plus oxybutynin in the treatment of obstructive sleep apnea with moderate pharyngeal collapsibility

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Sleep & breathing = Schlaf & Atmung








AD036; Atomoxetine; OSA pharmacotherapy; Obstructive sleep apnea; Oxybutynin


PURPOSE: Preliminary studies have shown a significant decrease in severity of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) with the use of a combination of atomoxetine and oxybutynin, with patients having moderate pharyngeal collapsibility during sleep more likely to respond. This study evaluated the efficacy and safety of AD036 (atomoxetine 80 mg and oxybutynin 5 mg) in the treatment of OSA. METHODS: This trial was a phase 2, randomized, placebo-controlled crossover study comparing AD036, atomoxetine 80 mg alone, and placebo during three home sleep studies, each separated by about 1 week. The trial included patients with OSA and moderate pharyngeal collapsibility as defined by a higher proportion of hypopneas to apneas and mild oxygen desaturation. RESULTS: Of 62 patients who were randomized, 60 were included in efficacy analyses. The apnea-hypopnea index (AHI) from a median (interquartile range) of 14.2 (5.4 to 22.3) events/h on placebo to 6.2 (2.8 to 13.6) with AD036 and 4.8 (1.4 to 11.6) with atomoxetine alone (p < .0001). Both drugs also decreased the oxygen desaturation index (ODI) and the hypoxic burden (p < .0001). AD036, but not atomoxetine alone, reduced the respiratory arousal index and improved ventilation at the respiratory arousal threshold (greater V). There was a trend for total sleep time to be decreased more with atomoxetine alone than with AD036. The most common adverse event was insomnia (12% with AD036, 18% with atomoxetine). CONCLUSION: AD036 significantly improved OSA severity in patients with moderate pharyngeal collapsibility. Atomoxetine may account for the majority of improvement in OSA severity, while the addition of oxybutynin may mitigate the disruptive effect of atomoxetine on sleep and further improve ventilation. TRIAL REGISTRATION: Clinical trial registered with www. CLINICALTRIALS: gov (NCT04445688).