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CPAP Low Compliance is Not a Myth

Any rudimentary investigation of the research yields a familiar theme; continuous positive air pressure (CPAP) to treat obstructive sleep apnea is effective, but only about a third of patients consistently use the device. 

One 2016 study published in the Journal of Otolaryngology – Head & Neck Surgery came to a sobering conclusion: “The rate of CPAP adherence remains persistently low over twenty years worth of reported data. No clinically significant improvement in CPAP adherence was seen even in recent years despite efforts toward behavioral intervention and patient coaching. This low rate of adherence is problematic, and calls into question the concept of CPAP as gold-standard of therapy for OSA.” 

“The conclusion is fairly stark, considering that the study examined two decades years of data,” says Shad Morris, D.D.S., founder/inventor of the slumberBUMP positional sleep therapy device. “To truly embrace ‘total sleep wellness,’ clinicians need to be educated about oral appliances and positional sleep therapy, both of which tend to have higher compliance rates.” 

Yet another recent study examined whether oral appliances worsened temporomandibular disorder (TMD) pain when compared to nasal CPAP. Yet again, oral appliances fared well with researchers concluding: “A low frequency of clinical signs of TMD pain in mild to severe OSA patients was found after 6 months, regardless of treatment with MAD [mandibular advancement devices] or nasal CPAP. In addition, no difference in mandibular function impairment was observed between the different treatment modalities.”

“Positional sleep therapy is a fairly low-tech option that patients can use immediately with no need for a prescription,” adds Morris. “It can be used in combination with the CPAP gold standard, by itself, or with an oral appliance to reduce snoring and improve the airway for patients.”

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