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CPAP Alleviates Depression Symptoms in Sleep Apnea Patients

In large trial and literature review, benefit seen for depression but not anxiety symptoms

WEDNESDAY, July 10, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) treatment reduces depression symptoms in patients with coexisting obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and cardiovascular disease, according to research published online June 13 in EClinicalMedicine.

Danni Zheng, Ph.D., from the University of New South Wales in Sydney, and colleagues conducted a secondary analysis of the Sleep Apnea Cardiovascular Endpoints (SAVE) trial, which randomly assigned 2,410 patients with coexisting moderate-to-severe OSA and cardiovascular disease to either CPAP treatment plus usual care or usual care alone. Depression and anxiety were assessed during 3.7 years of follow-up.

The researchers found that CPAP treatment was associated with reduced odds of depression caseness (adjusted odds ratio, 0.80; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.65 to 0.98; P = 0.031) versus usual care. Treatment effect was greater among those with preexisting depression symptoms. A systematic review of 20 randomized trials (4,255 participants) similarly showed a benefit of CPAP treatment in reducing depression symptoms in OSA patients. Neither the SAVE study (adjusted odds ratio, 0.98, 95 percent confidence interval, 0.78 to 1.24; P = 0.89) nor the literature review showed an effect of CPAP treatment on anxiety.

“Our findings provide further support for the broader beneficial effects of CPAP in those with OSA, and especially those at high cardiovascular risk, where there is the potential for enhanced mood to improve long-term cardiovascular outcomes,” the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical and biomedical industries.

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