Getting Off of Medication that Lists "Respiratory Distress/Depression" as Side Effect

Hello there. My name is Jill, and I am new to this forum – and have been newly diagnosed as having OSA. I have taken certain medications for a number of years, only to find out (after I was diagnosed with OSA) that the two medications I am on could cause “respiratory distress/depression.” I am slowly trying to wean myself off these medications, while trying to deal with my new OSA diagnosis plus all of the anxiety and overwhelming feelings that it brings. Needless to say, one of the meds that I take is FOR anxiety; the other is Benedryl. I am very concerned about this, since I realize that to take a sleep study and use a CPAP is the “gold standard” for apnea – yet, it might be self-defeating with the type of meds I am on. I am trying to get off of these meds, but don’t want to do so way too fast – since this could obviously make my sleep worse than it already is. I severely struggled through my second sleep study, with a lightweight nasal mask that had no chin strap. Unfortunately, I am also a “mouth breather.”

Also, I am wondering if anyone here has had any experience with alternative “cures” for sleep apnea – such as tongue/mouth exercises, acupuncture, proper breathing techniques, and the like. I am willing to try different CPAP masks and go the “conventional” route, but I just figured I would “throw this out there” and see if anyone has experience with alternative techniques.

I am a dentist working in dental sleep medicine. Oral sleep apnea appliances have been used by many hundreds of thousands of OSA patients as a substitute for CPAP. They are especially effective for mild to moderate OSA. This is well-established therapy and could also be considered a “conventional” solution at this point. a.b.luisi, d.m.d.

@Daisygirl Speaking only about your mouth-breathing issue, many patients I saw felt a sense of relief from anxiety and suffocation by using a full face mask. It might seem the opposite would likely occur, but having both the nose and the mouth involved gave a sense of comfort. There are a number of patients that keep several types of masks on hand and rotate them as needed. For instance, when a person has a cold and cannot breathe through their nose, a full face mask is a great strategy. Good luck to you and let us know how you are doing!

Thank you so much for responding to me, SleepDent and Mother T! I am truly reassured to know that this community exists for all of us apneic individuals. Thank you for the advice about oral sleep appliances, as well as the advice concerning the use of full-face masks. I look forward to sharing more information, self-improvement, and other things with everyone here.

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