The Takeaway

Medications for sleep or pain, as well as alcohol consumption, may increase the likelihood of obstructive sleep apnea. Low thyroid hormone, high growth hormone, and several muscle diseases are medical conditions associated with obstructive sleep apnea.

If a person takes certain medicines or has one of the following medical conditions, he or she is more likely to have symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).

Medications & OSA

Some medications may cause or worsen OSA. These include sleep medications, pain medications containing narcotics, and sedatives. Alcohol consumption can have a similar effect.

Man Sleeping
Both prescription and over-the-counter medications can worsen OSA.


Hypothyroidism, or low levels of thyroid hormone, is a common medical condition and may increase the risk of developing OSA. It's important to understand that correction of hypothyroidism does not necessarily resolve OSA, which might need to be treated separately.


Acromegaly is a rare medical disorder in which tumors of the pituitary gland secrete excessive amounts of growth hormone. Excessive growth hormone in adults causes enlargement of some facial bones and soft tissues, resulting in OSA.

Muscle Diseases

There are several different types of muscular dystrophy. Persons with some of these varieties have an increased risk of developing OSA

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