Peter Hibberd, M.D., is a doctor whose advice is based on more than 28 years of hospital outpatient and inpatient experience. He is an experienced emergency medicine physician, surgeon, and consultant. Dr. Hibberd is certified by the American Board of Emergency Medicine. He is also a fellow and active member of the American Academy of Family Physicians, an active member of the American College of Emergency Physicians, and a member and fellow of the American Academy of Emergency Medicine. Dr. Hibberd has earned numerous national and international professional certifications, memberships, and awards.
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Are There Herbal Products For Sleep Apnea?

Tuesday, 20 Jul 2010 11:30 AM

Question: My husband has sleep apnea and uses a CPAP machine which makes cold oxygen. Are there any herbal products for sleep apnea?

Dr. Hibberd's Answer:

There is no effective herbal product that safely treats sleep apnea. Untreated sleep apnea is a common cause of sudden death and unpredictable cardiac arrest. It has many causes, and normally your investigating physician searches for reversible causes when it is first diagnosed. The CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine prevents collapse of his airway, and by this mechanism is used to "treat" sleep apnea. Oxygen is not usually a prerequisite; compressed air is sufficient unless he has pre-existing lung disease requiring nocturnal oxygen in addition to airway pressure support. It sounds like it is time to have him re-assessed and re-evaluated.

Be sure he is not hypothyroid, and be sure he has no local obstruction to his airway that would be managed better by surgery. I know the CPAP treatments seem bulky, yet the majority of patients get significant relief, better sleep, improved daytime wakefulness, and significant risk reduction from sudden death and heart failure.

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