We know that CPAP is considered the best sleep apnea treatment, but it’s also the worst: because many people don’t use it. The biggest question in CPAP is: how can we get people to use their machines? Maybe the secret is web-based peer support.

A new $2.5 million study by the American Sleep Apnea Association (ASAA) has received approval from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) of the Board of Governors.

Holding Apnea Patients Accountable

The project is known as Monitoring and Peer Support to Improve Treatment Adherence and Outcomes in Patients with Overlap Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and Sleep Apnea, or simply O2VERLAP. As the title notes, the study is focused on patients that have not just sleep apnea, but also chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD).

Researchers are hoping  a proactive strategy for compliance, which include web-based peer coaching, education, and support intervention, will work better than a reactive strategy that only responds when patients are failing to comply with their treatment.

Although other studies have hinted that in-person support groups can help with adherence, these interventions also add significantly to the cost and inconvenience of CPAP, so it’s hoped that a web-based version will be helpful. By lowering the cost of interventions while improving their effectiveness, it’s hoped that a web-based active strategy can provide optimal results.

Oral Appliances, OSA, and COPD

Of course, it might be desirable to offer people different options that in themselves can help with compliance rates. Although CPAP has proven to be beneficial for COPD in small prospective studies, the primary use of CPAP in patients with this overlap is to treat their sleep apnea. In that case, oral appliances might be helpful, too. It’s a direction that would be useful to investigate, and we can only hope that studies like this will be announced in the near future.

In the meantime, if you have been prescribed CPAP for sleep apnea but aren’t doing well with it, oral appliances may help you. Please call (402) 493-4175 for an appointment with an Omaha sleep dentist at the Center for Advanced Dental Sleep Treatment today.