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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a device (Provent) that attaches to the outside of the nose for the treatment of sleep apnea and snoring. The device, called an expiratory positive airway pressure (EPAP) device, looks like a disk. One disk is attached over each nostril. A valve positioned over the nostril does not block air that you breathe in. But the valve makes it harder to breathe out. A little back-pressure builds up in the airways, and that pressure can help keep the airways open during sleep.
One study tested the device on people with mild to severe sleep apnea. Results showed that it reduced the number of times breathing was disrupted while sleeping.1 Use of the nasal disks also reduced daytime sleepiness in the people who used them.
Results of another study showed that half of the people who used the disks had a measurable improvement in their sleep apnea.2 The device worked best for people with mild sleep apnea.
You need a prescription from a doctor to get the disks.
Berry RB, et al. (2011). A novel nasal expiratory positive airway pressure (EPAP) device for the treatment of obstructive sleep apnea: A randomized controlled trial.
Sleep, 34(4): 479–485.
Patel AV, et al. (2011). Predictors of response to a nasal expiratory resistor device and its potential mechanisms of action for treatment of obstructive sleep apnea.
Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, 7(1): 13–22.
September 19, 2011
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
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