Sleep therapy: There's no 'CPAP killer'—yet

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

YARMOUTH, Maine – Although CPAP remains the treatment of choice for sleep apnea, some HME providers say consumers are pushing for alternatives, so they’re carrying those, too.

“At some of my retail locations we offer alternative things,” said Eric Parkhill, vice president of clinical operations/corporate compliance for Home Medical Professionals in Gainesville, Ga. “We’ll see people come to us asking if the insurance will pay for it.”

The answer to that question is usually “no.”

Provent is probably one of the most well-known alternatives available. It’s a single-use device that attaches over the nostrils to redirect air though an opening and closing valve.

“It’s for folks that are not able to be compliant with PAP for whatever reason, and for people that want an alternative when they travel,” said Lisa Feierstein, founder of Raleigh, N.C.-based Active Healthcare. “But, the gold standard is absolutely CPAP and we promote that.”

Provider Sam Jarczynski also offers Provent, but he says it’s not for everyone.

“It works for 50% to 60% of people,” said Jarczynski, president of Rx Stat in St. Petersburg, Fla. “It’s expensive, maybe $65 for a 30-day supply.”

RxStat also offers ApneaRx, an oral appliance that is easily fitted by the provider or patient. Unlike custom oral appliances provided in dentist’s offices, it isn’t covered by insurance.

Provider Johnny Goodman says he hasn’t seen a shift to alternatives, but he expects to see continued entries into the market.

“There is a demand for an easier than CPAP product, but no one has built the CPAP killer yet,” said Goodman, general manager of

Goodman suggests it’s time to build a better CPAP.

“Are people really seeking a new therapy or simply a better user experience?” he said. “Perhaps there’s a more clever and user-friendly way of delivering PAP.”