Patients and Family Members to Meet with FDA to Improve Sleep Apnea Treatment Outcomes

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New initiative to describe unmet medical needs & treatment expectations from patient point-of-view

On June 8, 2018, for the first time ever, sleep apnea patients and their family members will share perspectives on what it’s like to live with sleep apnea with FDA regulators, drug and medical device developers, and researchers. The AWAKE Sleep Apnea initiative, an education and empowerment endeavor launched today by the American Sleep Apnea Association (ASAA), will collect patient and caregiver experiences as they relate to diagnosis, impact on daily life, symptom management, and treatment expectations through an online survey and a meeting with FDA officials on June 8.

Nearly 18 million Americans of all ages have sleep apnea, a disorder that causes people to stop breathing during sleep and leads to daytime sleepiness, poor productivity at work or school, and increased risk of accidents on the job and on highways. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 50-75 percent of adults with symptoms of sleep apnea have not discussed their concerns with a physician. Left untreated, sleep apnea can have severe health consequences and is linked to increased rates of high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, diabetes, and other serious conditions.

ASAA’s chief patient officer, Adam Amdur, knows first-hand what is at stake. “Thirty years after I first showed signs of sleep apnea, I finally received a diagnosis and appropriate therapy. That first night of really good sleep was the first time I understood how much strain my body had endured. Now I do all I can to help others avoid that long and risky odyssey and to improve treatment options for all. That’s why we launched AWAKE Sleep Apnea.”

The AWAKE Sleep Apnea campaign will use social and traditional media to enlist patients and caregivers to share their experiences with the end goal of accelerating better treatment and care. FDA staff will be listening. The June 8, 2018 meeting is part of a larger series designed to help regulators understand what individuals living with certain diseases experience, which symptoms present the most difficulty, which treatment benefits matter most to them, and how they perceive potential risks and harms associated with treatment. Representatives from FDA’s Centers for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER) and Devices and Radiologic Health (CDRH) will participate, reflecting the use of both medications and medical devices to manage sleep apnea.

The Patient & Caregiver Survey will collect quantitative and qualitative information from patients and family members. Information shared at the meeting and via the survey will be combined into a written report to be released later this summer. It will be directed to FDA, life science companies, researchers, the patient community, and the public.

For more information about AWAKE Sleep Apnea, the June 8, 2018 meeting, the online survey, ASAA, and initiative partners, visit www.awakesleepapnea.org.

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