Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a growing public health hazard fueled by the obesity epidemic and an aging population. Untreated sleep apnea can result in significant consequences both in the short-term and long-term. We need to educate the public to recognize the symptoms of sleep apnea and to publicize that effective treatments are available. Positive airway pressure therapy remains the gold standard currently in treating OSA. Alternative treatments include an oral appliance or surgical options. This paper discusses the pharmacologic treatment of sleep apnea: goals include medications to address the ventilatory control of breathing, treat co-morbid diseases, treat associated health problems/complaints, address special issues, such as anesthetic precautions, and propose future targets.
Keywords: Obstructive sleep apnea, treatment, pharmacotherapy, targets, CPAP, Obstructive, apnea, anesthetic, hypertension, retropharyngeal, Bariatric surgery, cholinergic, nasal congestion, acromegaly, theophylline, aminophylline, caffeine, methylxanthine, Naloxone, oxyhemoglobin
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