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Am Rev Respir Dis. 1984 Jun;129(6):1023-5.

Induction of the obstructive sleep apnea syndrome in a woman by exogenous androgen administration.


We documented airway occlusion during sleep and an abnormally high supraglottic resistance while awake in a 54-yr-old woman who had developed physical changes and the syndrome of obstructive sleep apnea while being administered exogenous androgens. When the androgens were withdrawn, the patient's physical changes, symptoms, sleep study, and supraglottic resistance all returned to normal. A rechallenge with androgen produced symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea that abated upon withdrawal of the hormone. Previous reports have favored a role of androgens in the pathogenesis of sleep apnea. Our report provides direct evidence for this role. Structural and functional measurements indicate that androgens exert a permissive or necessary action on the structural configuration of the oropharynx that predisposes to obstruction during sleep. Development of the obstructive sleep apnea syndrome must be considered a possible side effect of androgen therapy.

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