MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. (AP) -- Shares of Vivus Inc. jumped 5 percent Monday after the company reported clinical study data that showed its weight loss drug Qsymia may help treat obstructive sleep apnea.
Vivus said patients who took the two active ingredients in Qsymia, phentermine and topiramate, had fewer breathing interruptions during sleep and lower blood pressure while sleeping in addition to weight loss. The study compared phentermine and topiramate along with lifestyle counseling to lifestyle counseling alone.
Patients in the 28-week study were not using positive airway pressure devices, which are commonly used to treat sleep apnea. The devices use increased air pressure to keep the airways open while the patient is sleeping.
Sleep apnea is characterized by pauses in breathing during sleep and can be weight-related. It can cause snoring, fatigue, and sleepiness, and can raise the risk of high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, heart attack, and stroke. Vivus said about 5 percent of the U.S. population has sleep apnea, and the condition is more prevalent in people aged 30 to 60 years.
Results from the study were printed in the medical journal Sleep.
The Food and Drug Administration approved Qsymia in July Vivus began selling the drug in September. The company is conducting mid-stage studies of Qsymia as a treatment for obstructive sleep apnea and diabetes.
Phentermine and is a stimulant that suppresses the appetite, and has long been used for short-term weight loss. Topiramate is an anticonvulsant that makes people feel more satisfied after eating. Both drugs have been on the market for years.
Vivus Inc. gained 53 cents to close at $11.37 on Monday.