Objectives: Studies have reported that 33% to 70% of patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD) have sleep-disordered breathing (SDB). Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) treatment has been shown to reduce daytime sleepiness and improve health-related quality of life in nondemented older people with SDB. The effect of therapeutic CPAP treatment on daytime sleepiness in patients with mild-moderate AD with SDB was assessed.
Design: Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial.
Setting: Patients' home and the University of California San Diego, General Clinical Research Center, J. Christian Gillin Laboratory of Sleep and Chronobiology.
Participants: Thirty-nine community-dwelling elderly patients with mild-moderate probable AD with SDB.
Intervention: Patients were randomly assigned to receive 6 weeks of therapeutic CPAP or 3 weeks of sham CPAP followed by 3 weeks of therapeutic CPAP.
Measurements: Epworth Sleepiness Scale (ESS) was administered at baseline, 3 weeks, and 6 weeks. Changes in daytime sleepiness in subjects who received optimal therapeutic CPAP were compared with changes in the sham CPAP group.
Results: Within the therapeutic CPAP group, ESS scores were reduced from 8.89 during baseline to 6.56 after 3 weeks of treatment (P=.04) and to 5.53 after 6 weeks of treatment (P=.004). In the sham CPAP group, there was no significant difference after 3 weeks of sham CPAP but a significant decrease from 7.68 to 6.47 (P=.01) after 3 weeks of therapeutic CPAP.
Conclusion: These data provide evidence of the effectiveness of CPAP in reducing subjective daytime sleepiness in patients with AD with SDB.