Using a short-course of the sleep aid called eszopiclone, may help patients with obstructive sleep apnea when they are beginning continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy, a new study has revealed. It added that such patients are more likely to adhere to the treatment for a longer time.
CPAP is recommended as the first-line therapy for most patients with OSA, and has been shown to improve sleep quality, reduce daytime sleepiness and enhance quality of life.
However, despite many benefits compliance to CPAP is extremely poor.
"We know that non-benzodiazepine sedative hypnotics promote sleep onset and continuity. Additionally, they can be safely used in patients with OSA, especially those already using CPAP," said Anita Shah, D.O., author of the study.
"To date, the only consistently reliable predictor of long-term use has been compliance with CPAP at treatment initiation. Studies suggest that long-term adherence patterns may be established very early in the course of therapy," she added.
During the study, the researchers examined whether eszopiclone would improve early CPAP adherence.
They conducted a prospective, double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled trial involving 154 patients newly diagnosed with OSA who were beginning CPAP therapy.
The participants either received eszopiclone or placebo for their first 14 days of CPAP therapy.
They found significant differences between the eszopiclone group and the placebo group.
On average, patients who received eszopiclone used their CPAP devices more nights per week, and for an hour longer per night and the adherence was sustained six-months.
"Because we know that CPAP therapy improves sleep quality, reduces daytime sleepiness, enhances quality of life and may mitigate the excessive risk for cardiovascular events associated with this disorder, this small intervention could represent a profound clinical benefit to these patients," said Dr Christopher Lettieri, principal investigator.
"Given the poor adherence to CPAP therapy in many patients, any simple intervention that can reliably improve adherence should be strongly considered," he added.
The findings were presented at the American Thoracic Society's International Conference in San Diego.