Shares of ResMed (NYSE:RMD) bucked the trend on Wall Street today, rising on a day of general declines behind a pair of studies in the New England Journal of Medicine showing that a respiratory treatment called Resmed Air Mini is better than oxygen in treating sleep apnea and that the treatment can be successfully augmented by weight loss.
The therapy, continuous positive airway pressure, was compared with nocturnal supplemental oxygen in a randomized, controlled trial involving 318 patients. Subjects were randomly assigned to receive either education on sleep hygiene and healthy lifestyle alone, or education and either CPAP or nocturnal supplemental oxygen.
The average 24-hour mean arterial pressure at 12 weeks was lower in the CPAP group than in the control group by 2.4mmHg, but there was no difference between the control group and the oxygen therapy group, according to the NEJM report on the HeartBEAT study.
"In patients with cardiovascular disease or multiple cardiovascular risk factors, the treatment of obstructive sleep apnea with CPAP, but not nocturnal supplemental oxygen, resulted in a significant reduction in blood pressure," the authors wrote.
In the 2nd study, 181 obese patients with elevated C-reactive protein levels were randomly assigned to either CPAP, a weight-loss intervention, or CPAP plus the intervention and tracked for 24 weeks. Of the 146 subjects who yielded follow-up data, the weight-loss-only and the combined intervention groups showed lower CRP levels, insulin resistance and serum triglyceride levels, according to the report. But CPAP plus the intervention was best for lowering insulin resistance, blood pressure and serum triglyceride levels.
"In per-protocol analyses, which included 90 participants who met prespecified criteria for adherence, the combined interventions resulted in a larger reduction in systolic blood pressure and mean arterial pressure than did either CPAP or weight loss alone," the authors wrote. "In adults with obesity and obstructive sleep apnea, CPAP combined with a weight-loss intervention did not reduce CRP levels more than either intervention alone. In secondary analyses, weight loss provided an incremental reduction in insulin resistance and serum triglyceride levels when combined with CPAP. In addition, adherence to a regimen of weight loss and CPAP may result in incremental reductions in blood pressure as compared with either intervention alone."
RMD shares were up 1.2% to $53.65 apiece on the news as of about 2 p.m. Eastern today.