If you’ve been diagnosed with mild, moderate, or severe obstructive sleep apnea, Winx is a clinically proven device that promises to help you breathe naturally, regardless of your sleeping position.
But instead of using a mask like traditional CPAP devices, Winx’s soft, flexible mouthpiece is attached to a slim tube. This delivers negative pressure (or Oral Pressure Therapy (OPT), as the manufacturer calls it), which helps keep your airway open by gently drawing the soft palate forward and stabilizing the tongue.
By eliminating this mask, Winx’s manufacturer claims you’ll be able to breathe naturally through your nose during sleep, with nearly silent operation and a small, travel-friendly size.
Because Winx is only available by prescription, is it worth exploring by making an appointment with your doctor? Or, might you experience better results with other options? And in the end, will Winx help you achieve improved sleep?
Let’s start by taking a look at exactly how it works.
How Does the Winx Sleep Therapy System Compare to Traditional CPAP Devices?
As the name implies, obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) occurs when the airway becomes obstructed (or blocked) during sleep, thereby causing lapses in breathing that can last up to a minute.
This obstruction is caused by tissue in the back of the throat, which relax at night and potentially block the airway.
To address the problem, the Winx Sleep System consists of three main components:
- A small, quiet vacuum console about the size of a soda can,
- A soft, flexible mouthpiece, and
- Slim tubing.
While in place, this whole system works in unison to create a light vacuum inside the mouth that gently stabilizes and draws the tongue and soft palate forward, actively opening the airway. This vacuum action is dubbed Oral Pressure Therapy (OPT) by the manufacturer.
It will also gently suck away excess saliva, which could interfere with the vacuum seal inside your mouth.
According to the company, this minimal design allows you to sleep in any position—and because there’s no mask or forced air involved, we’re told Winx eliminates many of the noises traditionally associated with CPAP devices and can help minimize disruptions.
Finally, Winx is said to keep track of use and store this information on a data card in the back of the console.
Altogether, we’re told the entire system is roughly the size of a rolled-up t-shirt that can fit in your carry-on.
Available only by prescription, the Winx system uses a flexible mouthpiece to deliver negative pressure that maintains an open airway. Image credit: Apnicure, Inc.
Comparatively, traditional CPAP machines use something called positive air pressure, which increases air pressure and prevents the soft tissue in your throat from collapsing and blocking your airway.
Perhaps the easiest way to think of it is that oral pressure therapy removes air, or creates a vacuum, while positive air pressure adds air.
Unlike over the counter options like mouthpieces, Winx also doesn’t move the lower jaw forward, so you won’t have to worry about the TMJ, tooth movement, and general pain and discomfort that many customers report with these devices.
Here is Winx’s Patient Orientation video, which can provide detailed insight over the course of a quick seven minutes:
But are there any other side effects you might have to worry about with the Winx Sleep System?
Are There Any Potential Side Effects With Winx?
The most important factor to remember is that Winx is only intended to treat obstructive sleep apnea—not central sleep apnea, which occurs because your brain isn’t sending proper signals to control your breathing.
It also shouldn’t be used if you have a severe respiratory disorder (e.g. severe lung disease, pneumothorax, etc.), have loose teeth or advanced periodontal disease, or are under the age of 18.
Regardless, sleep apnea can negatively impact your health (and even be life-threatening in some instances), so it’s important to speak with your doctor in advance. You’ll have to get a prescription for Winx anyway, so this will be an opportune time.
Speaking of which, the manufacturer notes that in order to use Winx, you’ll need to be able to breathe through your nose with your mouth closed. Your physician should perform an effectiveness assessment to ensure Winx is providing adequate treatment in this regard.
During the first few nights, it will probably take some adjustment getting used to the sensations related to Winx’s oral pressure therapy. As a result, the company notes you may experience some oral or dental discomfort, which should subside within an hour.
How Much Does Winx Cost?
No specific prices are listed on the Winx website, only that “the cash price is comparable to CPAP.” We’ve reached out to the company for more clarification, and will be sure to update this article as soon as a response is received.
However, Winx notes that they can provide 36-month financing at $61.45, which comes out to a total of $2,212 (at 14.99% APR).
Important note: Winx is not covered by Medicare or by most private insurance, but you can use Health Spending Account (HSA) dollars to pay for it.
Before ordering Winx, you'll need to obtain a prescription from your doctor. The company can also connect to you a free, no-obligation online video appointment with an independent, board-certified sleep physician that will last about 15 minutes.
If you decide to proceed, you’ll receive a packet that includes a mouthpiece sizing kit.
After you’ve received your device, Winx recommends replacing the mouthpiece, tube, and filter every three months, which can be purchased through Apnicure’s main website:
- Mouthpiece: $95
- Tubing: $35
- Reservoir: $30
- Bundle (Mouthpiece, Tubing, and Reservoir): $149
All Winx orders come with a 60-day trial period, along with a 2-year warranty against defects in materials and workmanship for the console, and 30 days for mouthpieces and tubing.
If you have additional questions or need to request a refund or file a warranty claim, Apnicure’s customer support department can be reached at (888) 294-WINX or firstname.lastname@example.org.
What Are Winx Users Saying In Their Reviews?
Although the Winx Sleep Apnea System appears to have been available since 2013, we didn’t encounter a whole lot of customer feedback during our research.
However, one member of the CPAPTalk.com forum provided some detailed insight about their experience, as well as answered other members’ questions.
Tip: One user in this same thread claimed their Winx system cost $1,759.
In a nutshell, they found that the console was small, easy to travel with, and was quiet (except when attempting to form a new vacuum, such as after opening your mouth).
They noted Winx’s flexible cord and mouthpiece design resulted in less equipment to wear than a traditional CPAP device, that it was easier to move around in, and that coughing and sneezing were also much easier.
Swallowing was still awkward, and they mentioned that the cord might have a tendency to wrap around your body if you move a lot while sleeping.
As far as potential downsides, they outlined that the vacuum sensation was a bit weird, but not uncomfortable. Also, that you might experience a dry mouth and tongue, some tongue fatigue, and moderate messiness since you’re dealing with saliva.
In fact, they mentioned that if you create a lot of saliva while you sleep, Winx might not be an ideal solution.
From a professional perspective, Sleep-Doctor.com noted that only one four-week 2013 trial had been completed on the Winx device, which was shown to reduce sleep apnea events from an average of 27.5 per hour to 14.8.
Obviously, this could be beneficial, although they noted the results were “disappointing and confusing” and that they’re “not good enough to recommend it for widespread use.”
A follow-up trial from 2015 indicated that Winx did significantly reduce AHI events, but that "the baseline AHI was not suppressed in the majority of patients to the extent to call these patients as optimally treated."
In other words, it seemed to have provided some benefit, but not enough.
Finally, Apnicure, Inc., based out of Redwood City, CA, has been in business since 2007. The company held an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau and no closed complaints as of 3/7/17.
Our Final Thoughts About the Winx Sleep Solution System
While you’ll find thousands of different CPAP device models spanning almost every imaginable price point, Winx is the only negative pressure machine currently available to address obstructive sleep apnea.
In other words, if you’re interested in trying out negative (versus positive) air pressure, Winx is the only game in town.
It’s also only available through a prescription, although it’s important that you talk with your doctor about your OSA anyway since it can lead to some unhealthy consequences if left unchecked.
If you have mild sleep apnea, though, keep in mind that you might be able to address it using over the counter devices like mandibular advancement mouthpieces, which might provide similar results for a much lower price.
Again, this is something only your doctor can help you decide. But to ensure you’re as informed as possible about the topic prior to your appointment, we’d strongly suggest reading A Step-by-Step Guide to Finding an Anti-Snoring Product that Works.
Finally, if you and your doctor ultimately determine that Winx is your ideal OSA solution, keep in mind that you’ll be required to clean the reservoir every morning and allow all the parts to fully dry before re-using. You’ll also need to flush the entire system with water once per week, so be sure to factor this extra time into your schedule.
What did you think of Winx? Was it an ideal solution to your OSA? Talk about your experience by writing a review below.
No response, no one to talk too!
I recently purchased my Winx device. Initially, I was very pleased with the machine. I thought it was very effective. The customer service was excellent when you are in the first stages of purchasing the machine. My husband was very pleased because the machine really stopped my snoring, and it was great! However, now that I have had my machine for about a month or so, I noticed I was no longer getting suction. The machine was working fine, but I believe my mouth piece may have stretched preventing suction.
So I have tried calling Winx to order a new mouth piece. The voicemail message says all agents are busy on other calls, but you can leave a message, and they will call you back. Well, I have left message after message, and no one has ever called me back! When you go online and attempt to login to your account, a message comes up saying they have run out of machines and they will contact you when they get a new shipment. Well, what about those of us who have already purchased our machines, but cannot get the necessary equipment? Without the mouthpiece the machine is useless.
I'm afraid I may have to return the machine, which is really a shame! I am a very unhappy customer. I really thought I finally found something to help me without having to wear that awful mask the CPAP Machine calls for! I would not recommend this machine unless or until the equipment is readily available and you are able to make contact with a real person to address your concerns!
Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend
We were really hoping this was going to help my husband's apnea that is life threatening, but it doesn't work for him. And now that they have my credit card info and locked me in on payments. I can't get ahold of anyone or if there is any way to return it during our "60-day free trial." Every way to contact them says they are sold out or too busy to answer my questions. Terrible customer service.
Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend
2 out 2 people found this review helpful
Promising results so far!
I have had my Winx machine for about seven days, and so far I have noticed a definite improvement in the quality of my sleep. Overall, getting started with Winx was a very good experience.
I am mild with an AHI of 15; I had a video conference appointment with a sleep physician who asked me a number of questions and told me I would be a good candidate. It felt like a normal appointment, and I didn't feel pitched on the device. After that step, they sent a bite sizing wax so they would know what size of the mouthpiece to send.
It hasn't been long, but it is much better than APAP (I tried it for a while, was not comfortable for me). I will update everyone as I know more.
Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend