Treatment Of Central Sleep Apnea

Carl Spoleta Says:

I have been diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea, but since my stroke in 2009 I am also having attacks of central apnea - I just stop breathing when asleep or resting flat on my back.

I might add that CPAP has not helped me at all for obstructive apnea - to such an extent that the insurance co. took it away when they looked at the data stored therein.

Acetazolamide is used off label to treat central sleep apnea and altitude sickness, since it seems to enhance the body's ability to maintain it's usual absorption of oxygen.

So my question is this: Is there some kind of law that prevents average doctors from prescribing drugs for non FDA approved uses? Or is it insurance companies?

What kind of doctor would I need to go to be treated with this drug or some other respiratory stimulant? Some kind of specialist? What kind? How can I find a doctor who has enought experience or knowledge - in a hospital, in a medical school?

What do you say?

3 Replies

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Verwon Says:

No, there is no law the prevents doctors from doing so, they are allowed to prescribe medications for off-label and non-approved uses. The law only pertains to advertising a medication, a company cannot advertise it for treating a condition it is not approved to treat. But yes, your insurance company may not cover it and they do not have to.

Learn more Acetazolamide details here.

You probably need to be referred to a respiratory therapist, if there are any in your area. They are the ones that would be specially trained in treating such conditions.

Are there any other questions or comments?

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Carl Spoleta Says:

Thank you for your information which was most helpful.

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LW Says:

A respiratory therapist (RRT) can NOT prescribed drugs or give any info on Acetazolamide. What country do you live in? Strictly prohibited in the U.S. Never heard of such a thing so do not listen to that person. And, the reason for Diamox (Acetazolamide has nothing to do with O2 consumption. It is purely for the brain and the "central" APNEAS that occur. Should be used in conjunction w/ ASV. Doesn't work for me. But, you should know you just received wrong advice.

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