Sleep Apnea May Heighten Risk of Panic Disorder

HealthDay News — Sleep apnea may increase the risk of subsequent panic disorder, according to a study published in the Annals of Family Medicine.

Vincent Yi-Fong Su, MD, from Taipei Veterans General Hospital in Taiwan, and colleagues examined the correlation between sleep apnea and subsequent panic disorder using data from the Taiwan National Health Insurance Research Database. Between 2000 and 2010, the authors enrolled 8,704 patients with sleep apnea and 34,792 age-, sex-, income-, and urbanization-matched controls without a prior diagnosis of panic disorder. Participants were observed through Dec. 31, 2010.

During a mean follow-up period of 3.92 years, the researchers found that 0.6% of all participants suffered from panic disorder, including 1.34% of the sleep apnea cohort and 0.42% of the control group. Patients with sleep apnea had a predisposition to develop panic disorder in Kaplan-Meier analysis. Among sleep apnea patients, the hazard ratio for subsequent panic disorder was 2.17 after multivariable adjustment.

“Clinicians should be aware of panic disorder as a comorbid condition in sleep apnea patients,” the authors write. “Future prospective research is needed to confirm our finding and elucidate the possible underlying mechanisms.


  1. Yi-Fong Su V et al. Ann Fam Med. 2015; doi:10.1370/afm.1815.