(HealthDay News) – For patients with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), treatment with positive airway pressure (PAP) therapy is associated with an improvement in depressive symptoms.

Charles Bae, MD, from the Cleveland Clinic, and colleagues investigated the change in depressive symptoms for patients with OSA using PAP therapy. Participants included 779 patients with OSA seen at the Cleveland Clinic Sleep Disorders Center between January 2008–July 2011, of whom 85% were adherent PAP users and 15% were non-adherent users. Depressive symptoms were assessed using the Patient Health Questionnaire 9 (PHQ-9).

The researchers found that the decrease in the PHQ-9 score was 3.8 ± 5.2 for adherent PAP users and 2.0 ± 5.2 for non-adherent users (P=0.0002). Within adherent PAP users, baseline PHQ-9 scores were significantly higher for sleepy versus non-sleepy patients (12.1 ± 5.3 vs. 9.9 ± 4.7; P=0.0015), and the decrease in the PHQ-9 score was significantly greater for sleepy vs. non-sleepy patients (4.3 ± 5.4 vs. 3.1 ± 4.0; P=0.0041).

“Adherent PAP users had greater PHQ-9 score decreases compared to non-adherent PAP users,” the authors write. “The sleepy PAP-adherent group showed the biggest improvement, but even the non-adherent PAP group also had improved PHQ-9 scores.”

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