My First Thoughts
Provent is a new product on the market that is unlike anything I have tested before in the past. It is a sleep apnea therapy treatment for people who suffer from OSA (Obstructive Sleep Apnea). The product is marketed as having “significant improvements” for sufferers across all levels of OSA severity.
The product is made by Provent Sleep Therapy LLC, but there is a longer history behind the product. It was originally created and sold under the company name Ventus Medical, Inc., which was then acquired in 2013 by Theravent, Inc.
The company makes another over the counter snoring solution; however, the Provent sleep apnea therapy is specifically for sufferers of this condition and requires a prescription from a licensed physician.
To date over 4 million Provent products have been sold to treat OSA patients.
With so many sold, I was excited to try the product. At first glance it looks like a very simple bandage for your nose, which in fact it is. I was a little hesitant on how well this would work, but I decided to take the plunge. My wife was going to have to sit this one out, she does not suffer from sleep apnea like I do.
I wrote down my entire process from beginning to end and my final Provent review below.
The Technical Stuff
OSA is a medical condition that is caused by the obstruction of the upper respiratory tract, either partially or completely. When this occurs, there is a reduction in the oxygen entering the bloodstream at night. This reduction is associated with a myriad of health problems ranging from mild, severe and even immediate death.
Normally, people who suffer from OSA or any other type of sleep apnea do not even know it. Symptoms such as fatigue or daytime sleepiness can be present for years or decades without the proper identification. Those who suffer from it usually have the issue recognized by a significant other who notices there are interruptions in their breathing when they are sleeping.
This is exactly how I was diagnosed with it. My wife noticed that when I was snoring I was also having episodes of shallow breathing. It was then that I started to investigate what caused this and what the possible solutions were.
While there are a few solutions to sleep apnea, this solution to OSA is known as Nasal EPAP (Expiratory Positive Airway Pressure). This is a relatively new method for treating OSA, the user breathes in through their nostrils with the product, but then exhales out of their mouth.
This is a recommended solution for those sufferers of sleep apnea who cannot tolerate a CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) machine. However, because you are breathing through the nostrils, it is not recommended for people with significant nasal obstructions.
The product itself more or less looks like a small band aid at first glance. You place it over your nostrils, and have one for each side of your nose.
Each separate piece has a large hole in the middle that is covered with a screen type material. Breathing in is done as normal; however, when you breathe out the large covered holes act to pressurize your airway and in the process keep it open to allow you to breathe normally throughout the entire night.
Each one is only usable for one night of sleep and there are many different quantities available for purchase such as 30, 60, 90, and 180 nights.
A Prescription is Necessary
The Provent is not something you can purchase online, get delivered to your home and begin using right away. It requires a doctor’s appointment and a prescription from a physician. Thankfully the official Provent website had a list of hundreds of physicians in the United States that I could make an appointment with to get tested for using the product, so you do not have to worry on searching where to buy Provent.
If you live outside the United States, Provent is also available in a few other countries, namely Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, the United Kingdom, Singapore, Malaysia and South Africa. The website does not list physicians in these international locations, but it does list phone numbers in each location you may call to find out how to purchase the product.
Being prescribed for sleep apnea is not an easy appointment. You simply do not walk into the doctor’s office, take a simple test, and leave with a diagnosis. First you meet with the doctor who then asks you a series of questions to see if you qualify to do a full sleep study.
Questions range widely about various health issues and they also see if you fit into a certain ‘lifestyle’. Myself being male, overweight and over 40, I fit the demographic of who could be suffering from sleep apnea. Additionally, other questions were asked such as how tired I was during the day and how many times per night I woke up.
After the first appointment is finished, I then went through a formal sleep study that had to be done at a sleeping center and spent the entire night there.
During the sleep study, the nurses hooked me up to various equipment that was designed to measure my heart, lung, and brain activity and monitor my oxygen levels and breathing patterns throughout the night. After I spent the entire night at the center, I was told to visit the primary physician again for the final diagnosis.
Sure enough when I went back I was diagnosed with a mild case of sleep apnea, and was recommended to try a few different options. Since I qualified for Provent I asked the doctor if I can try the 30-day starter kit.
Product Pick Up
There was no delivery process involved here since it is prescribed by a doctor. Rather, I had to pick it up at his office. Since I was using the 30-day starter kit, I received a few different things.
This kit is designed to help new users of the Provent get acclimated to it. Everyone is different and it is advised to slowly increase the resistance of your exhaling over the first several nights of use.
There are 3 different phases in the starter kit. Phase 1 which is a low resistance patch, phase 2 which is a medium resistance patch, and phase 3 which is the standard resistance patch.
Phase 3 is the ultimate goal and the one you will be using nightly over and over if you decide to go with Provent as a long term sleep apnea solution.
There was also a mini instruction booklet included with the product for helping you with fitting and to help get used to it. It is advised to use the phase 1 patch for the first 2 nights, phase 2 for night 3 and night 4, and finally the standard patch for the rest of the time.
Applying the product to your nostril is fairly simple. I removed the adhesive and peeled off one patch aligning it with my nostril and making sure the side tab faced outward. Once lined up properly, I placed it over my nostril and stretched the skin below my nostril to make sure it would be applied fully flush without any openings.
I then pressed against it to make sure the seal was complete, I felt around my nostril with my finger to make sure there were no creases or bumps and also breathed to make sure there were no air leaks.
Now that I had done the procedure for one nostril, I had to repeat the exact same steps for the other one. Once both were fitted properly, I was ready for bed!
This is not like any other product I have tested before. Something that was fit to my nose worried me since sometimes I would breathe through my mouth during the night. I had to breathe out through my mouth with it on my nose until I fell asleep.
Something I was not used to already. My initial impression was this might be difficult to work the entire night, but not having anything inside my mouth was also a nice relief.
It was a very simple product to apply and use and so far, and as of yet there was no issue with it becoming ‘unglued’. I would have to see how it would last for the entire night though.
The previous versions of the product I had read were firmer and had stronger adhesive when applied. This might have been better, but I still had the entire night to test and see how well it worked.
I did wake up feeling refreshed and felt like I had energy and a good night of sleep. When I wake up with energy it usually means I slept well the entire night.
I asked my wife if she heard any snoring or any breathing problems from me during the night, and she confirmed that she did not hear anything coming from my side of the bed.
Looks like I had success with the Provent patches. I did have some issues though when I woke up, a few things that are not common when using mouthpieces. First, my mouth was very dry.
Normally, the opposite happens when using a MAD device; I have woken up a few times with drool on the pillow, sometimes excessively. After using Provent, I had the opposite reaction with the dry mouth.
I also had a little sinus discomfort. Normally I have sinus problems anyway with the occasional sinus infection. With the Provent, I felt a little more discomfort in the morning in my sinus cavity than when I would have used a MAD or TRD for example. Lastly, because this was the first night I had a little trouble falling asleep.
This was a completely new product for me and having something covering my nasal openings was something I was not used to. I expect it to become easier and easier to fall asleep as I go through the starter pack.
This was a noticeable negative for me. There are different packages you can purchase, and some patients in the United States can have it covered through medical insurance.
If you must buy it outright it boils down to about $2 per patch. This can be incredibly expensive if you use it nightly for a year – over $700! For apnea sufferers there are other alternatives such as the CPAP machine.
My Last Words
The Provent was an effective product that helped me stop snoring and treat my sleep apnea. I did have a few issues after using the test kit, but those were resolved after continued use for a few weeks.
However, the price is astronomical – the most expensive I have ever tested to date. It is also very difficult to acquire. You must make multiple doctors’ appointments and need a prescription before you can start using it.
The bottom line is the product works, but I would personally recommend other mouthpieces as a better choice.