Sleep apnea treatment may not prevent sleepiness


Physicians who treat obstructive sleep apnea reported that patients with OSA can experience excessive sleepiness despite being on optimized airway treatment, findings from an online surgery of clinicians show.

Jazz Pharmaceuticals and the social media network Sermo conducted an online questionnaire on topics in excessive sleepiness and obstructive sleep apnea. The study was conducted March 30-31, 2018.

Of the 476 neurologists, pulmonologists, and psychiatrists who responded, 81% said that patients could experience excessive sleepiness even when their airway treatment has been optimized. That 81% was then asked what percentage of their patients with OSA experienced such symptoms. Almost one-third of respondents said that 16%-30% of their patients experience excessive sleepiness on optimized airway treatment, which works out to about 30% of neurologists, 40% of pulmonologists, and 23% of psychiatrists, Jazz reported.

When asked how often they assess their OSA patients’ sleepiness, 46% of respondents said every 3 months, 28% said every 6 months, 19% said once a month, 6% said once a year, and 0.4% (one neurologist and one pulmonologist) said never. The method of evaluation varied by specialty: 82% of pulmonologists most often use the Epworth Sleepiness Scale and 76% of psychiatrists primarily use an informal set of questions, with neurologists in between but leaning toward informal questions, Jazz reported.

“As more scientific evidence emerges around the neuronal injury occurring due to OSA and the potential neurocognitive effects of excessive sleepiness, it’s imperative that pulmonologists, neurologists and psychiatrists understand the impact ES [excessive sleepiness] can have on patients’ lives,” Richard K. Bogan, MD, of the University of South Carolina, Columbia, a paid consultant to Jazz, said in a written statement.

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