Patients with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) have been shown to have high levels of inflammatory markers. Anti-inflammatory treatment with montelukast and intranasal steroids have demonstrated efficacy for mild OSA in children; this has not been fully evaluated in adults. This study investigated the response of mild OSA in adults to anti-inflammatory medical therapy.
Adults aged ≥ 21 years with an apnea-hypopnea index (AHI) ≤ 15 events/h on polysomnography (PSG) were recruited to a prospective double-blind, randomized control trial. Patients were treated for 12 weeks with montelukast and fluticasone or placebo. All underwent a pretreatment and posttreatment PSG. Epworth Sleepiness Scale (ESS) score was obtained pretreatment and at 6 and 12 weeks posttreatment.
A total of 26 patients completed the study with 13 in each group. Mean age in the treatment and placebo groups were 58.3 ± 10.3 and 54.8 ± 14 years, respectively. There was no significant difference between groups reporting nasal congestion (P = .186), rhinitis (P = .666), or snoring (P = .177). There was no difference in the pretreatment ESS score (P = .077), body mass index (P = .173), or AHI (P = .535). The posttreatment PSG in the treatment group demonstrated a significant increase in total sleep time (P = .02) and percent of stage R sleep (P = .05). Neither group showed significant change in AHI. In patients in the treatment group, the 6- and 12-week follow-up ESS scores were not significantly different from pretreatment scores (P = .37–.46).
Intranasal steroids and montelukast did not decrease AHI; however, total sleep time and percent of stage R sleep significantly increased. Self-reported improvement could be explained by observed changes in sleep parameters. Larger prospective studies could help elucidate the effects of medical therapy on adult patients with OSA.
Smith DF, Sarber KM, Spiceland CP, Ishman SL, Augelli DM, Romaker AM. Effects of medical therapy on mild obstructive sleep apnea in adult patients. J Clin Sleep Med. 2019;15(7):979–983.