Purpose: To evaluate the level of evidence regarding the safety and efficacy of nonprescription therapies used to treat snoring and obstructive sleep apnea, and form a consensus statement based on available data.
Reviewers: Members of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine's Clinical Practice Review Committee.
Methods: A search of PubMed database using MeSH terms snore, apnea, and obstructive sleep apnea in August, 2002, including only articles published in English between 1990 and 2002 and of the World Wide Web, using Google search engine and the key words snoring and obstructive sleep apnea. Letters were sent to manufacturers of lubricant oral and nasal products requesting copies of scientific studies to support their claims.
Results and conclusions: Given the paucity and quality of scientific literature regarding the nonpharmacologic treatment of snoring and obstructive sleep apnea, members of the Clinical Practice Review Committee had insufficient information to develop standards of practice recommendations. Nevertheless, substantial publicity regarding such treatments is available to the general public. Very limited data are available to support a beneficial effect of these devices on snoring and minimal evidence is available to support their use in treating obstructive sleep apnea. Studies are limited by small numbers of participants and, in some instances, inadequate design, lack of statistical analysis, and sparse use of objective measurements. Many studies do not evaluate product safety, especially over extended use. Physicians may find this information useful in counseling their patients.