Sleep Apnea Treatments May Also Reduce Depression Symptoms

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Two common treatments for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) may also have benefits in improving depression symptoms as well.

Marcus Povitz, MD, of the University of Calgary, Canada, and colleagues looked at 22 randomized, controlled trials involving the impact of continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) or mandibular advancement devices (MADs) on sleep, as well as depressive symptoms.

Pooled results from the trials involving CPAP indicated that the treatment improved depressive symptoms better than a control (sham-CPAP), and a bigger effect was seen in trials in which patients had higher levels of depression at baseline, the researchers reported in PLOS Medicine. Feedback on depressive symptoms was based on patient questionnaires.

Analysis of five trials involving MAD also found greater improvement in depressive symptoms in those on the MAD treatment than those on the control (sham-MAD).

The authors, however, caution that while modest improvements were seen with both sleep apnea treatments, their meta-analysis does not give any insight as to how CPAP and MAD compare with antidepressants or other therapies for depression.

“This systematic review summarizes the available literature on OSA treatment, demonstrating that both CPAP and MAD treatment result in small improvements in depressive symptoms based on questionnaires,” the researchers said in a statement. “Our results illustrate that the greatest benefit of CPAP treatment on depressive symptoms may occur in populations with worse depression scores at baseline.”

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Sleep Apnea Treatments May Also Reduce Depression Symptoms

Treatment for obstructive sleep apnea with continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) or mandibular advancement devices (MADs) can lead to modest improvements in depressive symptoms, according to a study published by Marcus Povitz, Carmelle Bolo, and colleagues from University of Calgary, Canada, in PLOS Medicine.

The researchers identified 22 randomized,controlled trials that investigated the effects of CPAP or MAD treatment on patients with obstructive sleep apnea and that measured depressive symptoms before and after treatment.

By pooling the results from the 19 trials examining the effects of CPAP, the researchers observed that CPAP significantly improved depressive symptoms compared to the control intervention (usually sham-CPAP), with a greater improvements in those trials in which there was a higher prevalence of depression at baseline than in trials in which there was a low prevalence of depression at baseline.

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