Obstructive sleep apnea and schizophrenia: A systematic review to inform clinical practice

Schizophr Res. 2016 Jan;170(1):222-5. doi: 10.1016/j.schres.2015.11.014. Epub 2015 Nov 24.


Background: Risk factors for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) are common in people with schizophrenia. Identification and treatment of OSA may improve physical health in this population; however there are no guidelines to inform screening and management.

Objectives: Systematic review to determine, in people with schizophrenia and related disorders: the prevalence of OSA; the prevalence of OSA compared to general population controls; the physical and psychiatric correlates of OSA, associations between antipsychotic medications and OSA; the impact of treatment of OSA on psychiatric and physical health; and the diagnostic validity of OSA screening tools.

Data sources: Medline, EMBASE, ISI Web of Science and PsycINFO electronic databases. Cohort, case-control and cross-sectional studies and RCTs reporting on prevalence of OSA in subjects with schizophrenia and related disorders were reviewed.

Results: The prevalence of OSA varied between 1.6% and 52%. The prevalence of OSA was similar between people with schizophrenia and population controls in two studies. Diagnosis of OSA was associated with larger neck circumference, BMI>25, male sex and age>50years. There were no data on physical or psychiatric outcomes following treatment of OSA. The diagnostic utility of OSA screening tools had not been investigated.

Conclusion: OSA may be prevalent and potentially under-recognized in people with schizophrenia. Further research is required to determine utility of OSA screening tools, the relationships between antipsychotic medications and OSA and any benefits of treating OSA. We propose a strategy for the identification of OSA in people with schizophrenia and related disorders.

Keywords: Obstructive sleep apnea; Psychosis; Schizophrenia; systematic review.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Schizophrenia / complications*
  • Schizophrenia / epidemiology
  • Schizophrenia / therapy*
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / complications*
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / epidemiology
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / therapy*