John Harsh, PhD: Exploring Once-Nightly Sodium Oxybate Therapy for Narcolepsy

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These positive outcomes are promising for individuals struggling with narcolepsy, as they provide hope for improved management of their condition. However, Harsh says oxybate therapy is not for everyone.

Dr. John Harsh, a prominent clinical research director at the Colorado Sleep Institute, recently presented novel data at SLEEP 2023 in Indianapolis, IN. His focus was on sodium oxybate therapy and its potential benefits for adults with narcolepsy.

The conference featured the efficacy and safety profiles of once-nightly sodium oxybate, also known as ON-SXB or FT218, as a treatment option for narcolepsy in adults. Harsh and his team specifically examined the investigational extended-release formulation of this therapy, which proved successful in meeting its coprimary endpoints.

“It seems to be a good alternative to those who are already on oxybate therapy and it's a good alternative for patients who are just being started on therapy,” he explained.

These positive outcomes are promising for individuals struggling with narcolepsy, as they provide hope for improved management of their condition. However, Harsh said, oxybate therapy is not for everyone and there’s more to discover about the treatment within various populations.

“If there's any abuse potential, that's a concern. If there are people who need to be awake in the middle of the night to take care of family or to answer the phone, it's probably not desirable,” he said. “We still need to understand issues like fall risk in the middle of the night.”

As with the twice-nightly dose, patients experienced occasions of getting up in the middle of the night, which brings up concerns about fall risk. However, these results further support the potential this treatment can have with future investigation.

“If we know what the underlying mechanisms are, we can match up this approach with people whose mechanisms aren't what they should be, and as a consequence, have daytime sleepiness,” Harsh explained.

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