Nine patients with obstructive sleep apnoea were treated with 5 to 20 mg of protriptyline each night for two to 18 months. In four patients, there was dramatic, sustained improvement in symptoms and measured sleep quality and apnoea frequency and duration. There was no improvement in two patients and three developed intolerable side-effects preventing adequate treatment. Apnoea frequency was the only apparent predictor of responsiveness. Those with fewer than 30 episodes of apnoea per hour consistently improved. Only two of four patients with more than 60 episodes per hour improved. These results provide additional evidence that a carefully monitored trial of protriptyline may benefit selected patients with mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnoea.
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