A recent article in The Sydney Morning Herald reports on a lawsuit against the promoters of ‘anti snoring rings’. According to the article:
A COMPANY that convinced 200,000 customers its finger ring was a “proven” treatment for snoring will be forced to withdraw its claims, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission said yesterday.
The makers of the “anti-snore” therapeutic ring, which is worn on the little finger, claim pressure balls on the inside of the device create a “calming effect” that stops snoring and promotes better sleep. The ACCC said the company had agreed to remove claims from its website that the ring had a “proven history of successful drug-free treatment of snoring” and was “tested and recommended by a physician”.
The ring is sold at most major chemist and health store chains in Australia, the ACCC said.
Ron Grunstein, a professor of sleep medicine at the Woolcock Institute at the University of Sydney, said he thought it was a problem that pharmacies sold unproven treatments for snoring and insomnia.
He saw patients “all the time” who had wasted large amounts of money on alternative snoring treatments before seeking medical help. ”No matter how much advice [we give] about these treatments having very little effect, people still get ripped off.”
Ken Harvey, of La Trobe University, said the Therapeutic Goods Administration provided no protection against devices considered “low risk”.
“Devices that make absolutely crazy claims are doing very well in Australia,” he said.
The ACCC runs regular internet sweeps to catch companies making unproven medical claims.
It wouldn’t be so bad if snoring was just a loud and embarrassing noise — but the fact is that snoring is a loud and clear signal of ‘sleep disordered breathing’. This is a potentially life threatening condition and, even if not life threatening, SDB has deleterious effects on the sufferer’s health, wellbeing and relationships.
Three simple recommendations, for ANY treatment…
- Treatment MUST begin with a polysomnogram (diagnostic sleep study). This determines the true nature and the severity of the condition. Often patients think they ‘just’ snore, when in reality they are suffering from more serious conditions such as apnoea (where they stop breathing dozens of times each hour while asleep). Only a specialist sleep physician, viewing a current sleep study report, can make a proper decision about an appropriate form of treatment.
- The sleep study must be done before treatment … and then again AFTER treatment to objectively confirm the efficacy of the treatment.
- Get treatment from professionals. In the course of walking a patient along the ‘treatment pathway, we will involve treatment coordinator nurses, specialist sleep physicians, sleep scientists, general practitioners, specially trained dentists, dental prosthetists and technicians, nurses specialising in constant positive airway pressurisation … and numerous others. The likelihood of getting an optimally successful and long lasting treatment from a ‘pinkie ring’ or some other do-it-yourself form of treatment are almost non-existent.