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Volume 14 No. 03
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Accepted Papers

Scientific Investigations

Acetazolamide Reduces Blood Pressure and Sleep-Disordered Breathing in Patients With Hypertension and Obstructive Sleep Apnea: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Davoud Eskandari, PhD1; Ding Zou, MD, PhD1; Ludger Grote, MD, PhD1,2; Erik Hoff, MD1,2; Jan Hedner, MD, PhD1,2
1Center for Sleep and Vigilance Disorders, Department of Internal Medicine and Clinical Nutrition, Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden; 2Sleep Disorders Center, Pulmonary Department, Sahlgrenska University Hospital, Gothenburg, Sweden

Study Objectives:

The carbonic anhydrase inhibitor acetazolamide (AZT) modulates blood pressure at high altitude and reduces sleep-disordered breathing in patients with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). We aimed to investigate the treatment effect of AZT and in combination with continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) on blood pressure in patients with hypertension and OSA.


In a prospective, randomized, three-way crossover study, 13 male patients with hypertension and moderate to severe OSA (age 64 ± 7 years, body mass index 29 ± 4 kg/m2, and mean apnea-hypopnea index 37 ± 23 events/h) received AZT, CPAP, or AZT plus CPAP for 2-week periods. Antihypertensive medication was washed out. Office and 24-hour blood pressure, arterial stiffness, polygraphic sleep study data, and blood chemistry were compared.


AZT alone and AZT plus CPAP, but not CPAP alone, reduced office mean arterial pressure compared to baseline (−7 [95% CI −11 to −4], −7 [95% CI −11 to −4] and −1 [95% CI −5 to 4] mmHg, respectively; repeated-measures analysis of variance (RM-ANOVA; P = .015). Aortic systolic pressure and augmentation index, assessed by radial artery oscillatory tonometry, were unaffected by CPAP but decreased after AZT and AZT plus CPAP (RM-ANOVA P = .030 and .031, respectively). The apnea-hypopnea index was significantly reduced in all three treatment arms, most prominently by AZT plus CPAP (RM-ANOVA P = .003). The reduction of venous bicarbonate concentration following AZT was correlated with the change of apnea-hypopnea index (r = 0.66, P = .013).


AZT reduced blood pressure, vascular stiffness, and sleep-disordered breathing in patients with OSA and comorbid hypertension. Carbonic anhydrase inhibition may constitute a potential target for drug therapy in patients with sleep apnea and comorbid hypertension.

Clinical Trial Registration:

Registry:; Identifier: NCT02220803; Title: A Short Term Open, Randomized Cross-over Trial Exploring the Effect of Carbonic Anhydrase Inhibition by Acetazolamide on Sleep Apnea Associated Hypertension and Vascular Dysfunction; URL: and Registry: EU Clinical Trials Register; EudraCT Number: 2013-004866-33; Title: A short term open, randomized cross over trial exploring the effect of carbonic anhydrase inhibition by acetazolamide on sleep apnea associated hypertension; URL:


Eskandari D, Zou D, Grote L, Hoff E, Hedner J. Acetazolamide reduces blood pressure and sleep-disordered breathing in patients with hypertension and obstructive sleep apnea: a randomized controlled trial. J Clin Sleep Med. 2018;14(3):309–317.

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