Provent is a new treatment for obstructive sleep apnea, developed in the past several years, which represents a new treatment option for patients suffering from obstructive sleep apnea.
Provent is technologically classified as an expiratory positive airway pressure nasal device. In plain English, Provent is basically a one time use disposable sticker (it looks a little like those small circular bandaids that you get at the doctors office after you get a shot or vaccine). The sticker has a tiny plastic valve in their center to allow you to breath through. Every night when the user goes to bed, he or she places one sticker over each nostril, and peels off and throws away the sticker in the morning on awakening.
The valve in each sticker is the key to how they work. They are one way valves which allow unimpeded inhalation, but create resistance when one exhales. The back pressure created by the resistance to exhalation is transmitted to the throat, creating a very subtle increase in airway pressure, and helping to prevent or mitigate airway collapse. In most users this results in a decrease in the quantity of sleep apnea and snoring.
There is one very important point to keep in mind. Most studies looking at Provent show that it decreases apnea frequency by around 50%. What that means, is that if you have severe sleep apnea, and are having around 50 apneas per hour, Provent would be expected to decrease your apnea frequency to around 25 events per hour – still a significant quantity. Therefore, Provent is not my recommended first line therapy for individuals with moderate or severe obstructive sleep apnea. The only treatment which offers near 100% success is CPAP. Provent is however an excellent option for individuals with mild sleep apnea, or for individuals with moderate or severe sleep apnea who are CPAP intolerant.
It’s not a cure all, and it’s not for everybody, but it does represent a new option for patients and their bed partners looking for relief. Discuss it with your sleep physician if you’d like more information.
As always, if you have any questions or concerns about your health you should speak to your physician.
Roy Artal, M.D., F.C.C.P.
Medical Director, Tower Sleep Medicine
Diplomate, American Board of Sleep Medicine
Los Angeles, California
**Please note that the CBS video piece above contains an error in content. It incorrectly states that Provent is the only alternative to CPAP. Provent is actually one of many alternative treatments for obstructive sleep apnea.