Non-invasive treatment for children with obstructive sleep apnea suggested by new study

August 16, 2012

Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) researchers revealed that a majority of children suffering from Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) treated with montelukast, a drug approved for asthma or hay fever, showed significant improvement in respiratory disturbance and adenoid size, according to a new study published in Pediatrics journal.

A considerable percentage of children who suffer from OSA and undergo tonsillectomies and polypectomies occasionally suffer from post-operative infection, bleeding and dehydration. Some children experience a reoccurrence of the condition.

According to Dr. Aviv Goldbart, a researcher in BGU's Faculty of Health Sciences, "Our goal is to find non-invasive treatments for OSA. We are seeking a that will be used instead of tonsillectomies and polypectomies in children, and as a replacement for continuous positive (CPAP) machines for adults."

The study was tested in a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled fashion in which 23 children were given placebos, and 23 children were given montelukast. After a 12-week treatment with daily , children experienced reduced severity of OSA. These same 23 children also showed significant improvement in respiratory disturbance, adenoid size and children's symptoms. The obstructive apnea index was decreased by over 50 percent in 65 percent of treated children.

Explore further: Treatment of childhood obstructive sleep apnea reverses brain abnormalities

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