Friday, February 24, 2012

Medication Improves Sleep Apnea Events in Trial Study

Treatment options for the dangerous condition known as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) has evolved from continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) devices to oral appliances and may soon include prescription medication.

In January, an advisory panel of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommended approval of Qnexa, a medication being developed by Vivus Inc. for treatment of conditions including obesity, type 2 diabetes and OSA. Although the FDA is not bound by the advisory panel, it will consider the committee’s recommendation when it reviews the Qnexa application for regulatory approval later this year.

Specific to Qnexa’s potential for OSA treatment, a mid-stage trial of the drug indicated that Qnexa reduced the incidence of sleep apnea events in obese patients with OSA by nearly 70 percent.

In a 28-week study of 45 patients, Vivus reported that Qnexa resulted in a mean drop of apnea events from 46 per hour to 14 per hour. Patients also saw improvements in blood pressure and nighttime blood-oxygen levels, according to the California-based pharmaceutical company.

The most frequently reported side-effects were dry mouth, an altered sense of taste and sinus infections. However, Vivus has indicated that it would seek approval of Qnexa only for obese women who are not of childbearing potential and men; Qnexa is contraindicated for pregnant women and women who are planning to become pregnant, which means the drug should not be used because the potential risk outweighs the possible benefits for these patients.

If Qnexa is approved, it would be the first pharmaceutical to receive FDA approval for OSA treatment.

If you think you might suffer from OSA or another sleep disorder, a qualified dentist may be able to help. Please contact us to locate a dentist in your area with experience in diagnosing and treating sleep apnea and other sleep disorders.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Childhood Sleep Apnea Treatment can Improve Daytime Attention, Behavior

In addition to being exposed to potential health problems such as heart disease later in life, children with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) often have trouble staying awake during the day, face difficulty paying attention in school and may have behavioral problems.

All of these issues are caused by the lack of sleep associated with OSA, in which a person’s breathing is interrupted numerous times during sleep because of an airway obstruction. However, new research published in The American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine suggests that childhood treatment of OSA that results in even three hours of uninterrupted sleep can make a significant difference in the attention, behavior and quality of life of children who suffer from OSA.

The study focused on 52 children with an average age of 12 who were diagnosed with OSA. Ten of the participants had developmental problems. Children in the study used a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) device during sleep for a three-month period.

Although children only used the device for an average of three hours per night, all of the children in the study—including those with developmental delays—showed improvement in daytime responsiveness, cognition and drowsiness.

While CPAP has proven to be effective in treating sleep apnea, children are perhaps even less likely to use the device long-term than adults. CPAP masks can be uncomfortable and cumbersome, and many patients halt CPAP use soon after they start.

Fortunately, there are oral appliances that have demonstrated success in treating OSA. Consulting with a dentist who specializes in sleep disorder diagnosis and treatment can help determine the best sleep apnea treatment option for you or your child.

Please contact IHateCPAP to locate a qualified sleep disorder dentist near you.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Children with Sleeping Problems may be Prone to Sleep Disorders Later, Study Suggests

A recent study indicates that one in 10 children under 3 years old has trouble sleeping at night and may be at increased risk for developing a sleep disorder such as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) with age.

The research focused on 359 children between 6 months and 3 years old over a three-year period and found that sleep problems were common, but that parents did not always recognize warning signs such as loud, chronic snoring. Regular snoring is one of the symptoms of OSA, a dangerous sleep disorder that can contribute to an increased risk for health problems including heart attack and stroke.

The study, which was published in January in the journal Pediatrics, suggested that children who had sleep problems at this early stage in life were three to five times more likely to have sleep problems later, which challenges the common belief that most children outgrow sleep disorders.

“The data indicate that sleep problems in children are not an isolated phenomenon,” said Dr. Kelly Byars, a co-author of the study and an associate professor at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. “If you have it early and it’s not remedied, then it’s likely to continue over time.”

Over the course of the study, parents of the children were interviewed when the infants were 6 months old, and then again at 1, 2 and 3 years old. Research showed that about 35 percent of the children who had problems sleeping at the beginning of the study continued having problems more than two years later.

In addition to snoring, other indicators of potential sleep disorders included frequent waking interruptions of sleep in the middle of the night, regular nightmares and regularly taking longer than 20 minutes to fall asleep.

If you believe your child suffers from the symptoms of sleep apnea or another sleep disorder, a dentist who specializes in sleep disorder diagnosis and treatment may be able to help. Please contact us to locate a qualified dentist near you.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Sleep Apnea, Memory Loss and Dementia

Marsha from Little Rock;
Question: Could untreated mild to moderate sleep apnea cause concentration loss? I am a 58-year old female.

Dr Shapira Response: Absolutely! Short term memory loss is strongly asociated with untreated sleep apnea. It is also associated with Alzheimers and Dementia if it runs in your family.

Untreated Sleep Apnea can cause numerous cognitive problems in both young and old. Short term memory loss is very common and it may be irreversible if you wait too long to treat it.

Cognitive loss also deals with concentration and ability to organise and complete activities.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Study Links Sleep Apnea to Silent Strokes

Sleep apnea—a condition in which a person’s breathing stops periodically during sleep—has long been associated with an increased risk for strokes. But a new study links sleep apnea with silent strokes, a symptomless type of stroke that can cause brain damage and lead to a heightened chance for a major stroke.

The study was conducted by researchers at Dresden University, and the findings will be formally presented at the upcoming American Stroke Association’s international conference.

Research focused on overnight testing of 56 men and women with an average age of 67 who had suffered a stroke or the neurological dysfunction called transient ischemic attack (also known as a mini-stroke). Ninety-one percent of the patients who experienced a stroke also had sleep apnea.

Brain imaging was used to monitor the patients during sleep, and researchers found that having more than five episodes of sleep apnea during a sleep cycle was associated with silent stroke. According to the study, the more times a person stopped breathing during the night, the greater the risk of a silent stroke.

The research led to a number of questions, including whether pre-existing sleep apnea plays a role in silent strokes or whether patients who suffer silent strokes are more vulnerable to developing sleep apnea. According to WebMD, 20 to 25 percent of people 60 and older have had a silent stroke.

Most people who suffer a silent stroke are unaware they’ve had a stroke, as silent strokes typically do not have noticeable symptoms. They do, however, cause minor damage to the brain and put those who suffer silent strokes at an increased risk for major strokes in the future.

If you suffer from the symptoms of sleep apnea, a dentist who specializes in sleep disorders may be able to diagnose the source of your condition and recommend effective treatment options.

Please contact us to locate a qualified sleep disorder dentist near you.