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Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and other forms of sleep-disordered breathing including central sleep apnea (CSA) are amongst the most common sleep disorders. The prevalence of the most severe form of OSA, the OSA syndrome (OSAS; OSA plus co-existing sleepiness), ranges between 3-7.5 % in males and 2-3 % in females [1]. Lesser degrees of OSA may well affect up to 28 % of the adult population [2]. Simple snoring shares pathophysiological features with OSA, and affects even greater numbers. CSA is seen mainly in patients with cardiac failure and less commonly in stroke or other neurological conditions. While there are a range of more or less effective non-pharmacological therapies for both OSA and snoring, and for CSA, all such therapies are problematic and there is a clear and pressing need for efficacious and safe pharmacological treatment for these sleep disorders.

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