A medication used to treat depression may help those with sleep apnea get a better night's rest. A small research trial conducted with the drug mirtazapine showed promising results for the common sleep disorder. It is the most effective chemical treatment found so far for the condition.
The patients who took mirtazapine slept significantly better than those in the control group, according to researchers. The number of times breathing slowed or stopped was cut in half on average. And the number of sleep disturbances decreased by 28 percent. Overall, the 12 participants showed improvement in sleeping patterns. Mirtazapine works by regulating the neurotransmitter serotonin, a chemical that is known to affect mood, appetite and sleep.