A Randomized, Controlled, Clinical Trial of Continuous Positive Airway Pressure Treatment of Obstructive Sleep Apnea-Hypopnea in Multiple Sclerosis

Start Term
End Term
March 31, 2019
Funding Amount
McGill University
Geographic Region(s) / Province(s)
Hot Topic(s)
Wellness Solutions
Impact Goal(s)
Advance Treatment and Care


  • Poor sleep is a problem for many people with multiple sclerosis (MS) and is related to fatigue.
  • Whether treatment of sleep disorders can markedly improve fatigue and other symptoms in some MS patients needs to be tested in a study.
  • The research team is:
    • Conducting a randomized, controlled, clinical trial of a treatment for a sleep disorder, called continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), in MS patients.
    • Determining the effects of CPAP treatment for six months on fatigue as well as sleep quality, somnolence, pain, disability, and quality of life in MS patients.

Project Description:

Obstructive sleep apnea-hypopnea (OSAH) is the most common sleep abnormality in people with MS and is associated with increased fatigue and pain. Dr. Trojan’s preliminary research showed that treatment of sleep disorders (mostly OSAH) can markedly improve fatigue and other symptoms in some MS patients. The goal of this project is to test the effect of OSAH treatment in a scientifically rigorous study to confirm improvements in sleep quality, fatigue and other symptoms that dictate the quality of life in MS. The best treatment for OSAH in the general population is continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP). Thus far, Dr. Trojan has confirmed the observation of OSAH in individuals with MS and tested the feasibility of the research to support long-term CPAP treatment. Over 49 individuals with MS have been recruited to participate in the study with nearly 35 that have already completed the trial. Recruitment of participants with severe fatigue and poor-quality sleep in ambulatory MS patients is shown to be a good predictor of those with sleep disorders.

Potential Impact: Provide strong evidence supporting a novel, accessible, non-drug treatment for reducing the important and disabling symptom of fatigue in individuals with MS presenting sleep disorders.

Project Status: In Progress