Can I Use Acetazolamide As CPAP Therapy Medicine?

Can I Use Acetazolamide As CPAP Therapy Medicine?

This post was originally published on February 13, 2013, but updated on August 29, 2022.

While CPAP therapy is the go-to approach for managing obstructive sleep apnea, other types of sleep apnea may require alternate treatment. Medications including Acetazolamide have shown to help patients with central sleep apnea and possibly in some instances obstructive sleep apnea. Before starting any medicine regimen, it is important to speak to your doctor regarding the severity and type of your sleep apnea and the proper treatment options.

What Is Acetazolamide?

Acetazolamide is a versatile drug used for conditions ranging from glaucoma to epilepsy. The medication may also be useful in the treatment of obstructive and central sleep apnea. Acetazolamide comes as a tablet and capsule to take by mouth. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take this medicine exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.

What Is Acetazolamide Used For?

Acetazolamide is used with other medicines to reduce edema (excess fluid retention) and to help control seizures in certain types of epilepsy. This medication is also used to prevent and reduce the symptoms of altitude sickness. This medication can decrease headache, tiredness, nausea, dizziness, and shortness of breath that can occur when you climb quickly to a high altitude.

Special Measures for Using Acetazolamide

Before taking this medicine, tell your doctor:

  • If you are allergic to acetazolamide, sulfa drugs, diuretics ('water pills'), or any other drugs.
  • What prescription and nonprescription medications you are taking, especially amphetamines, aspirin, medications for depression or irregular heartbeat, and vitamins.
  • If you have or have ever had heart, liver, or kidney disease or diabetes.
  • If you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding.
  • if you are having surgery, including dental surgery.

Acetazolamide Medication for Obstructive Sleep Apnea

While Acetazolamide appears to benefit patients with central sleep apnea most, there is some evidence that it may help with the symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea as well. In clinical studies, short-term Acetazolamide improved both OSA and CSA. Rigorous studies with long-term follow-up are warranted to assess Acetazolamide's value for the chronic treatment of patients with sleep apnea.1

Does Use of Acetazolamide Help with CPAP Medication?

While CPAP therapy is the most common treatment for OSA, other medications may help for certain patients. Ambien, melatonin and Edluar are just some of drugs sometimes prescribed for sleep apnea.

Doctors generally do not recommend medications as the primary treatment for sleep apnea. However, some drugs can help patients manage symptoms of sleep apnea including daytime sleepiness, or difficulty sleeping. Acetazolamide may be used with these other medications in some cases based on a doctor’s recommendation.


National Library of Medicine. August 5, 2020. Acetazolamide for OSA and Central Sleep Apnea: A Comprehensive Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Chris Vasta

Chris Vasta is the president of The CPAP Shop and an expert in sleep and respiratory therapy. He often provides insights on product design and functionality on various manufacturers’ prototypes and is frequently tapped to provide reviews on new releases.