Can CPAP therapy become less effective over time?

by Don
(Greenville, SC)

I have OSA and use a CPAP machine set at 18.

I have used the same machine for several years.

Can CPAP therapy become less effective over time?

Lately, I have often had insomnia. I take Venlaflaxine for depression.

Could this affect my OSA?


There are situations where CPAP may become less effective over time. These situations are:

  • weight loss - if you are overweight and have sleep apnea, an effective CPAP therapy will help you not only with eliminating apnea episodes, but with weight loss, too.

    By losing fat deposition around the neck, you will need a lower pressure from your CPAP.

    Some patients who lost weight, feel the CPAP pressure uncomfortable at some point, and they can't fall asleep, thus insomnia.

  • weight gain can affect the effectiveness of CPAP therapy. This situation is completely opposite to weight loss.

    In addition, if you gained weight while using CPAP therapy, may confirm that sleep apnea was not completely eliminated.

    You will need a higher pressure from your CPAP, to sleep better, without apnea episodes or insomnia.

  • medication - there are some medications that can cause insomnia. For example, if you have high blood pressure (and many apnea patients have hypertension), then you want to avoid some medications that causes insomnia, sleep disorders, drowsiness or nightmares.

    For more info about hypertension medication and their side effects, see high blood pressure symptoms.

  • medical conditions

  • improper CPAP mask fit - can be one of the most common reasons for a poor treatment, causing many issues, including insomnia.

Bottom line... If you'll have a new CPAP titration study, and a new pressure has been found to adequately treat your apnea episodes, then you should sleep without problems.

If CPAP doesn't work for you whatever you do, there are other options, like oral appliances or surgery. The oral devices are proven to have similar efficiency with CPAP, so you might be interested.

Make sure though that the mask fits well on you.

Click here for some tips to learn how to fit a CPAP mask and how to eliminate the air leaks.

I hope it helps. Don't be afraid to comment back.

Remy Thierry
Founder of Sleep Apnea Guide

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May 19, 2012
Few Things To Consider
by: Kath Hope

CPAP machines do eventually need replacing and will not perform the same as new for years.

Venlafaxine Anti-Depressants usually make apnoeas worse.

Sounds like a titration study is in order, as your machine might need pressure changes due to the anti-depressants, and there's already been some other good points posted from Remy.

Good luck!

Aug 10, 2015
by: Don in Greenville

Thank you for your comments. I learned a few things from them. I have a new machine. Mask that covers nose and mouth works well. Still have Insomnia. Now have Diabetes and gained more weight.

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