What is the role of antihypertensive medications in the treatment of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA)?

Updated: Sep 15, 2020
  • Author: Himanshu Wickramasinghe, MD, MBBS; Chief Editor: Zab Mosenifar, MD, FACP, FCCP  more...
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Answer

Antihypertensive drug treatment does not improve OSA; however, clonidine, which is an REM sleep suppressant, may improve OSA indirectly by reducing the patient’s percentage of REM sleep because the REM sleep is when OSA is most severe. Finally, angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor use may worsen OSA because of the adverse effects of cough and rhinopharyngeal inflammation, 2 effects that cease with discontinuation of the drug.


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