This article comes under the category of “You are not alone”. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is now well recognized as a problem for many patients. OSA is associated with a number of complications, along with the most common symptom, which is daytime sleepiness. The current, most effective treatment for OSA is continuous positive airway pressure or CPAP. Those of you who use this therapy know at least two things; first, it takes some getting used to; and second, it is effective in reducing daytime sleepiness.

Sadly, excessive daytime sleepiness remains a frequent complaint even with patients who adhere regularly to their CPAP therapy. Despite this phenomenon, the large majority of CPAP-adherent patients express greater satisfaction with their overall OSA care.

A careful look at OSA patients with the complaint of excessive daytime sleepiness despite the use of CPAP found that the most common reason for symptoms was a failure to use the CPAP therapy as prescribed. The Epworth Sleepiness Scale, which is a measure of daytime sleepiness, showed significant improvement in patients complaining of excessive daytime sleepiness when more effective use of their CPAP was undertaken.

Excessive daytime sleepiness continues to be prevalent among patients who are very CPAP compliant. For this group, I suggest you discuss this with your sleep specialist. There are medications that can be added to your program which can add some additional help. Severe daytime sleepiness can be dangerous depending on your occupation and should not be ignored.