Drowsiness: soon a new drug against narcolepsy
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Drowsiness: soon a new drug against narcolepsy


The narcolepsy is characterized by episodes of falling asleep during the day and a drowsiness very disabling in everyday life. Symptoms appear between 10 and 30 years of age.

So far, no medication has been able to cure this rare neurological disease due to the loss in the brain of neurons synthesizing a protein: hypocretin.

Inserm researchers are currently working on a new therapeutic avenue: solriamfetol. In its course, this drug is in phase 3 of the tests, the last step before a possible marketing. The study is funded by the Jazz Pharmaceuticals laboratory.

This new molecule acts on awakening mechanisms. It “inhibits transporters of dopamine but also those of the noradrenaline, another neurotransmitter also involved in the regulation of wakefulness, “said a press release dated April 2, 2019.

240 patients with narcolepsy participated in the study. They were divided into several groups, some receiving solriamfetol in different doses or a placebo.

The results are rather encouraging: “Patients receiving a daily dose of 150 milligrams (mg) or 300 mg of solriamfetol managed to fight drowsiness for about 20 minutes versus 10 minutes without treatment, twice as long. Currently prescribed drugs only improve alertness by two or three minutes. This efficacy persisted during the 12 weeks of treatment, without requiring a dose increase and with few side effects. “

To verify these results, scientists are launching a new one-year clinical trial. They are already considering developments in another disease, sleep apnea, for which the drug also appears to be effective.

Source: Annals of neurology, January 29, 2019.

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