September 22, 2015

CPAP Therapy Reduces Symptoms of Depression in Adults With Sleep Apnoea

DARIEN, Ill -- September 22, 2015 -- Depressive symptoms are extremely common in people who have obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA), and these symptoms improve significantly when OSA is treated with continuous positive airway pressure therapy (CPAP), according to a study published in the September issue of the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine.

The study showed that nearly 73% of patients with OSA (213 of 293 patients) had clinically significant depressive symptoms at baseline, with a similar symptom prevalence between men and women. These symptoms increased progressively and independently with apnoea severity.

However, clinically significant depressive symptoms remained in only 4% of the patients who adhered to CPAP therapy for 3 months (9 of 228 patients). Of the 41 treatment-adherent patients who reported baseline feelings of self-harm or that they would be “better dead,” none reported persisting suicidal thoughts at the 3-month follow-up.

“Effective treatment of obstructive sleep apnoea resulted in substantial improvement in depressive symptoms, including suicidal ideation,” said senior author David R. Hillman, MD, University of Western Australia, and the Charles Gairdner Hospital, Perth, Australia. “The findings highlight the potential for sleep apnoea, a notoriously underdiagnosed condition, to be misdiagnosed as depression.”

The study group comprised 426 new patients referred to a hospital sleep centre for evaluation of suspected OSA, including 243 males and 183 females. Participants had a mean age of 52 years. Depressive symptoms were assessed using the validated Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9), and the presence of OSA was determined objectively using overnight, in-lab polysomnography. Of the 293 patients who were diagnosed with OSA and prescribed CPAP therapy, 228 were treatment adherent, which was defined as using CPAP therapy for an average of 5 hours or more per night for 3 months.

According to the authors, the results emphasise the importance of screening people with depressive symptoms for OSA. These patients should be asked about common sleep apnoea symptoms including habitual snoring, witnessed breathing pauses, disrupted sleep, and excessive daytime sleepiness.

SOURCE: American Academy of Sleep Medicine
Log in to post comments

Tell us what you think of DG News

Click to like Click to dislike