Central Sleep Apnea Treatment
Central sleep apnea is a problem that is relatively unusual.
While obstructive sleep apnea occurs often, central sleep apnea is rarely diagnosed.
Obstructive sleep apnea can be very damaging to the body, causing an obstruction of the airway that forces a person to wake up repeatedly throughout the night and leading to a host of problems.
Central sleep apnea is a problem that is not as commonly addressed. It’s a rare condition in which the brain is unable to appropriately signal the body to let it know when to breathe while sleeping.
Many people who are affected by central sleep apnea also have a minor case of obstructive sleep apnea. Clinically, central sleep apnea is diagnosed when 10 or more apneas occur during an hour due to central causes and less than 5 apneas occur in the hour with an obstructive cause.
Central sleep apnea is a problem that cannot be as easily solved as obstructive sleep apnea. While obstructive sleep apnea sufferers may simply change the position in which they sleep or get a CPAP machine to curb their problem, there are not many options available for those with central sleep apnea.
Luckily, doctors have been researching feasible medications for central sleep apnea treatment, and they may have experienced a breakthrough. Ambien is a sedative drug that can prove to be of clear-cut merit to those suffering from central sleep apnea.
While there are many more studies to be done, the results of a study conducted by Syed Quadri, M.D. of Henry Ford hospital concerning the drug are quite promising. After giving central sleep apnea sufferers Ambien for 6 weeks, apnea episodes were shown to be considerably decreased.
The drug was administered 30 minutes before bedtime at a dose of 10 milligrams. A polysomnographic exam was conducted at the start of the trial and at the end of the trial. 20 patients finished the study, and the results were astounding.
The average occurrence of any apnea events, whether obstructive or central, fell from 30 per hour to 13 per hour, representing a statistically significant change. Central apneas fell from an average of 26 episodes per hour to merely 7.
While the study represents a marked enhancement in our understanding of central sleep apnea, there is still much to be learned. If the drug truly ends up being of merit to apnea sufferers, it represents a hypnotic, sleep-inducing drug that the patient will need to be dependant on.
The safety of Ambien on a long-term dosage has not been precisely determined yet, so it’s significant not to jump the gun on this study. More studies are being conducted to note the effects of Ambien long term, as well as studies constructed to help understand what hypnotic drugs do in those with apnea.
So, while Ambien may not be a cure for central sleep apnea, it definitely represents a milestone in the fight for understanding this mysterious disease. Hopefully, our knowledge will only continue to grow.