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How is sleep apnea treated relative to excessive sleepiness?

ANSWER

The most common treatments for sleep apnea include:

In addition to treatments for sleep apnea, it is important to manage other conditions, such as high blood pressure, that often exist along with it.

  • Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP). In this treatment, a nasal device attached to a machine with a blower unit helps keep the airway open. CPAP is the most common treatment used for obstructive sleep apnea.
  • Armodafinil and modafinil. These stimulant medications can help relieve sleepiness in people who do not respond well enough to CPAP alone.
  • Solriamfetol (Sunosi) this medication can be used to improve wakefulness in people who have excessive sleepiness due to sleep apnea.
  • Oral appliance therapy. Devices move the tongue, lower jaw, or soft palate forward, which opens the airway.
  • Weight loss. If you are obese, losing weight can decrease risk for sleep apnea by reducing fat deposits in the neck. It also reduces many of the other risks associated with sleep apnea, such as heart disease.
  • Surgery. This may be an option if other treatments don’t work.

SOURCES: 

News release, FDA.

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke: “NINDS Hypersomnia Information Page.”

Medscape: “Management of Excessive Daytime Sleepiness Reviewed.”

eMedicine: “Primary Hypersomnia.” 

eMedicine: “Obstructive Sleep Apnea.” 

eMedicine: “Disorders that Disrupt Sleep (Parasomnias).”

National Sleep Foundation: “Fatigue and Excessive Sleepiness.”

National Sleep Foundation: “Depression and Sleep.”

Narcolepsy Network: “FAQ.”

RLS Foundation: “What Is RLS?” 

RLS Foundation: “FAQ.”

Reviewed by Carol DerSarkissian on May 22, 2019

SOURCES: 

News release, FDA.

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke: “NINDS Hypersomnia Information Page.”

Medscape: “Management of Excessive Daytime Sleepiness Reviewed.”

eMedicine: “Primary Hypersomnia.” 

eMedicine: “Obstructive Sleep Apnea.” 

eMedicine: “Disorders that Disrupt Sleep (Parasomnias).”

National Sleep Foundation: “Fatigue and Excessive Sleepiness.”

National Sleep Foundation: “Depression and Sleep.”

Narcolepsy Network: “FAQ.”

RLS Foundation: “What Is RLS?” 

RLS Foundation: “FAQ.”

Reviewed by Carol DerSarkissian on May 22, 2019

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