FDA Clears Novel Daytime Device for Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Megan Brooks

February 08, 2021

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the first device to help reduce snoring and mild obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) that is used during the day while the patient is awake. 

eXciteOSA (Signifier Medical Technologies, LLC) is a prescription-only, neuromuscular stimulation device designed to improve tongue muscle function, which, over time, can help prevent the tongue from collapsing backwards and obstructing the airway during sleep, the FDA said.

The eXciteOSA mouthpiece has four electrodes that deliver a series of electrical pulses with rest periods in between. Two electrodes are located above the tongue and two are located below the tongue.

The patient uses the device for 20 minutes once a day while awake for 6 weeks, and once a week thereafter. It is indicated for adults aged 18 and older with snoring and mild OSA.

OSA is marked by the recurring collapse of the upper airways during sleep, intermittently reducing or completely blocking airflow. Common symptoms include snoring, restless sleep and daytime sleepiness. Untreated OSA can lead to serious complications such as cardiovascular disease and cognitive and behavioral disorders.

Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy, administered through a facemask that is worn while asleep, is a first-line treatment for OSA.

The eXciteOSA device "offers a new option for the thousands of individuals who experience snoring or mild sleep apnea," Malvina Eydelman, MD, director, FDA Office of Ophthalmic, Anesthesia, Respiratory, ENT and Dental Devices, said in a news release.

The FDA reviewed data on the safety and effectiveness of the eXciteOSA device in 115 patients with snoring, including 48 patients with snoring and mild OSA. All patients used the device for 20 minutes once a day for 6 weeks, then stopped using it for 2 weeks before they were reassessed.

Overall, the percentage of time spent snoring at levels louder than 40 decibels (dB) was reduced by more than 20% in 87 out of the 115 patients.

In the subset of patients with snoring and mild OSA, the average apnea-hypopnea index (AHI) score was reduced by 48%, from 10.21 to 5.27, in 41 of 48 patients. Mild OSA is defined as an AHI score greater than 5 but less than 15.

The most common adverse events were excessive salivation, tongue or tooth discomfort, tongue tingling, dental filling sensitivity, metallic taste, gagging, and tight jaw.

Before using the eXciteOSA device, patients should receive a comprehensive dental examination, the FDA says. 

The device should not be used in patients with pacemakers or implanted pacing leads, or women who are pregnant. The device is also contraindicated in patients with temporary or permanent implants, dental braces, intraoral metal prosthesis/restorations, or ulcerations in or around the mouth.

The eXciteOSA device was approved under the de novo premarket review pathway for new low- to moderate-risk devices. More information on the device is available online.

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