A lot of people are quite surprised to find out that there is
FDA approved sleep apnea medicine on the market, but
there are actually quite good reasons behind the lack of sleep apnea
to the lack of approved sleep apnea medicine on the
market, many people who have been diagnosed with this sleeping disorder
feel that they can combat their sleeping problems by simply taking an
over the counter sleeping aid. But this can actually be incredibly
dangerous and even potentially fatal if the person has a
form of the disorder.
main reason that doctors will not prescribe medicine for sleep
apnea is that most
sleeping aids contain sedatives which slow down the
body, including breathing function, which can cause serious problems
for those who already have trouble breathing during sleep.
suffer from sleep apnea already
have a lowered rate of breathing, and
any further reduction in breathing rate could cause their blood oxygen
saturation levels to drop to a dangerous level. This is why your doctor
will recommend a sleep
apnea device such as an apnea
mouth guard or
machine if you have been diagnosed with sleep apnea.
to Promote Wakefulness in Sleep Apnea Patients
there are no medications which can successfully treat sleep
apnea, some doctors will still prescribe certain medications for sleep
apnea patients which can
help reduce sleepiness. Some people with sleep
apnea still report being extremely tired despite the use of a CPAP
these cases, your doctor may prescribe pills which will
help you feel more energetic during the day. These pills are almost
never prescribed until CPAP has been tried for
at least several months or even a year or more, and even then only in
conjunction with continued CPAP therapy.
most commonly used medicines are modafinil
(brand name Provigil)
(Nuvigil), both of which work to reduce tiredness by
affecting certain chemicals in the brain. Many sleep apnea patients who
take this type of medication also report having improved memory
function and concentration.
of these medications are usually quite successful in promoting
wakefulness in sleep apnea patients, and generally considered quite
safe for prolonged daily use. However, there are a few
side effects to
be aware of, including headaches, dizziness, and anxiety, as well as
difficulty falling to sleep or even insomnia.
are also a few side
effects which can make the sleep apnea much worse, including
inflammation of the nasal passages. If this occurs, you
will need to
stop using the medicine immediately as it will be counterproductive to
your CPAP therapy.
medications are also not recommended for pregnant women or those
who are breast feeding. In addition, they may also interfere and reduce
or even completely eliminate the effect of certain birth
into Potential Sleep Apnea Medications
pharmaceutical companies and research institutes have long been
searching for effective sleep apnea medications, and some believe that
they may be getting close. Most of the studies revolve around
medications which have already been approved by the FDA to treat other
conditions, although none have been proven to be completely effective
at treating sleep apnea as of yet.
there is hope that an
effective sleep apnea medication could be found at some point in the
near future, as lots of time and money is being invested into research
in this area.
Most of the drug therapy
treatments being tested use either one or several existing medications
to affect chemical
changes in the brain in an effort to reduce or eliminate
sleep apnea. One of the most promising medications seems to be mirtazapine, which
is an antidepressant that works by increasing
the levels of serotonin produced by the brain.
drug has been shown to reduce the number of apneas a person experiences
during the night and also keep them from feeling as tired in the
morning. However, this drug has only been tested in very limited
studies, and much more large scale testing will be
required before it
is ever approved as a sleep apnea treatment.
for Sleep Apnea Sufferers to Avoid
stated earlier, certain types of medications, specifically sedatives
and narcotics, should be
avoided by anyone with sleep apnea. Some of
the most dangerous medications for sleep apnea sufferers to take are:
Opiates are typically
pain killers and include a wide group of medications
hydrocodone, morphine, methadone, and oxycontin. They have the effect
of causing shallow breathing, pauses in breathing, and irregular
breathing and heartbeat, all of which can be very dangerous for those
with sleep apnea.
This group of
medications is typically
used as anti depressants, to relieve anxiety,
as muscle relaxants and even to prevent seizures, and they include such
medicines as Valium (diazepam).
the past, they were used to treat
some forms of insomnia, but they have mostly been discontinued in this
area due to their highly addictive nature. In general, they should not
be used by anyone with sleep apnea, especially within a few hours of
going to sleep.
These medications are
used to treat seizures among many other conditions.
their use has been drastically reduced in the past few decades as safer
medications have been developed. If you have sleep apnea and are on one
of the medications, you should ask your doctor for alternatives.
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