High Prevalence of Insomnia in Patients With Sleep-Disordered Breathing

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) Jan 15 – Results of a recent study suggest there is a high prevalence of problematic insomnia symptoms among patients with objectively diagnosed sleep-disordered breathing (SDB).

Dr. Barry Krakow, of the Sleep and Human Health Institute in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and colleagues, conducted a chart review to examine the prevalence of insomnia symptoms in 231 patients with objectively diagnosed SDB. Of the 231 patients, 115 reported no insomnia symptoms (SDB-only patients) and 116 reported clinically significant insomnia symptoms (SDB-plus patients).

"Compared to SDB-only patients, SDB-plus patients reported significantly worse mean sleep characteristics consistent with insomnia, including sleep latency (17 min versus 65 min), total sleep time (7.2 h versus 5.6 h), and sleep efficiency (92% versus 75%)," the researchers report in the December issue of Chest.

"SDB-plus patients experienced significantly more psychiatric disorders, cognitive-emotional symptoms, and physical and mental symptoms that disrupted or prevented sleep," they add.

SDB-plus patients reported greater use of psychotropic medications than SDB-only patients, at 29% and 15%, respectively. They were also more than twice as likely to use prescription or nonprescription sleeping aid medications.

While patients in both groups had similar referral rates for sleep apnea or complaints of loud snoring, the SDB-plus patients reported significantly more primary complaints of insomnia, restless legs or leg jerks, and poor sleep quality.

"In the current climate of managed-care medicine and its impact on sleep-disorders centers and laboratories," Dr. Krakow's group points out that "it remains to be seen whether or not these complex patients are receiving the proper amount and quality of care."

Chest 2001;120:1923-1929.

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