How Aceta Zolamide helps treat Altitude Sickness


Altitude sickness is treated with acetazolamide to prevent and lessen the signs and symptoms. When you swiftly go to high altitudes (often above 10,000 feet/3,048 meters), symptoms such as headache, exhaustion, nausea, dizziness, and shortness of breath may appear. These symptoms can be lessened by taking this drug. It is especially helpful when you are unable to make a gentle ascent. Climbing carefully, stopping for 24 hours along the ascent to give the body time to acclimate to the new altitude, and taking it easy for the first one to two days are the best ways to avoid altitude sickness. Additionally, this drug is combined with other drugs to treat glaucoma-related eye pressure that is excessive. The group of medications known as carbonic anhydrase inhibitors includes acetazolamide. It functions by reducing the amount of fluid produced inside the eye. Additionally, it is used to lessen edema, a buildup of bodily fluids brought on by heart failure or specific drugs. Acetazolamide is often used for a brief length of time because it can become less effective with time. It has additionally been combined with other drugs to treat specific kinds of seizures (petit mal and unlocalized seizures).

Uses of Acetazolamide

Take this medication by mouth, often 1 to 4 times day, as prescribed by your doctor if you’re taking tablets. Take this medication by mouth, often once or twice daily, as prescribed by your doctor if you are using the long-acting capsules. The long-acting capsules should be taken whole. The capsules must not be chewed, broken, or opened. By doing so, the drug’s long-lasting effects may be destroyed, and side effects might even worsen.

You can take acetazolamide with or without food. Unless your doctor instructs you otherwise, drink plenty of water. Your medical condition and treatment response will determine the dosage.

One to two days prior to the commencement of your ascent, you should begin taking acetazolamide to prevent altitude sickness. Take it continuously for the duration of your ascent and for as least 48 hours following your final altitude. To keep your symptoms under control while staying at the high altitude, you might need to keep taking this medication. You should descend as soon as you can if you get severe altitude sickness. You won’t be shielded from the harmful consequences of severe altitude sickness by acetazolamide. (Also see Precautions)

Use this medication consistently as prescribed if you are taking it for a different illness (such as glaucoma or seizures) to receive the most benefit from it. Take it at the same time(s) every day to aid in memory. You can avoid needing to wake up in the middle of the night to urinate by taking your final dose in the early evening. If you have any concerns regarding your dosage regimen, speak with your doctor or pharmacist.

Usage this medication just as directed and never up the dosage, frequency, or duration of use. Your condition won’t get better any faster, and your chance of experiencing negative effects will rise.

This medication may not function as effectively when taken for an extended period of time and may need to be dosed differently. Your condition will be observed by your doctor. If your disease doesn’t get better or gets worse, let your doctor know (for example, you have more frequent seizures).

Your blood may contain less potassium after using this medication. While taking this drug, your doctor may advise you to eat foods high in potassium (such bananas or orange juice). You can be given a potassium supplement by your doctor to consume while undergoing treatment. To learn more, talk to your doctor.

If your issue persists or worsens, let your doctor know.

Negative effects

As your body adjusts to the drug in the initial days, you may have dizziness, lightheadedness, or excessive urination. Additionally possible side effects include blurred vision, dry mouth, tiredness, lack of appetite, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or changes in taste. Inform your doctor or pharmacist as soon as possible if any of these side effects persist or get worse.

When getting out of a sitting or laying posture, take it gently to lessen the chance of feeling lightheaded and dizzy.

Keep in mind that your doctor has recommended this medication because they believe it will benefit you more than it will harm you. Many users of this medicine report no significant negative effects.

If you experience any severe side effects, such as tingling in your hands or feet, hearing loss, ringing in the ears, unusual tiredness, easy bleeding or bruising, a fast or irregular heartbeat, muscle cramps or pain, new or worsening eye pain, a decrease in vision, mental or emotional changes (such as confusion, difficulty concentrating), symptoms of liver disease (such as nausea and vomiting that won’t stop, stomach/abdominal pain, yellowing of the skin or eyes,

Rarely will this medication cause a very serious allergic reaction. However, if you experience any major adverse reaction symptoms, such as a rash, itching or swelling (particularly of the face, tongue, or throat), severe dizziness, or difficulty breathing, seek medical attention right away.

The list of potential negative effects is not exhaustive. Contact your doctor or pharmacist if you have any other side effects not covered above.

Call your doctor in the UK for medical advice regarding side effects.


Inform your doctor or pharmacist if you have any allergies before using acetazolamide, including any to other medications. Inactive chemicals in this product have the potential to trigger allergic reactions or other issues. To learn more, speak with your pharmacist.

Tell your doctor or pharmacist about all of your medical conditions before taking this medication, especially any that may affect the adrenal glands, such as Addison’s disease, untreated mineral imbalances, such as low sodium or potassium levels or hyperchloremic acidosis, dehydration, kidney or liver disease, breathing issues, such as COPD, emphysema, or lung infections, diabetes, gout, narrow-angle glaucoma, or an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism).

While this drug can help you acclimate to high elevations and endure steep climbs, it cannot totally shield you from dangerous altitude sickness. Severe shortness of breath, mental/mood changes (such as confusion, difficulty concentrating), lack of coordination/staggering walk, intense exhaustion, and severe headache are some signs of significant altitude sickness.

It is crucial that you descend to a lower elevation as soon as you experience any of these symptoms in order to avoid significant, potentially fatal issues.

This medicine may cause you to feel groggy, sleepy, or have blurred vision. You may become more woozy or sleepy after consuming alcohol or marijuana (cannabis). Until you can do something safely, avoid using machinery, driving, or doing anything else that requires attentiveness or sharp vision. Limit your alcohol consumption. Consult your physician if you use marijuana (cannabis).

Rarely, this medication may induce a spike in blood sugar, which can lead to or exacerbate diabetes. If you experience high blood sugar symptoms, such as increased thirst or urine, let your doctor know straight away.

If you already have diabetes, check your blood sugar as advised on a regular basis, and inform your doctor of the results. Your blood sugar may be lowered by this drug. Low blood sugar can cause sudden perspiration, trembling, a quick heartbeat, hunger, blurred vision, dizziness, or tingling in the hands or feet, among other symptoms. To treat low blood sugar, it is a good practice to carry glucose tablets or gel. If you don’t have access to these safe sources of glucose, quickly raise your blood sugar levels by consuming an orange juice or non-diet Coke, or by eating a quick supply of sugar such table sugar, honey, or candies. Inform your doctor as soon as possible about the occurrence and the usage of this product. Eat regularly and avoid skipping meals to help prevent low blood sugar.

You can become more sun-sensitive as a result of this treatment. Keep sun exposure to a minimum. Avoid using sunlamps and tanning booths. When outdoors, wear protective gear and sunscreen. If you get skin blisters or redness, or if you suffer a sunburn, call your doctor right away.

Inform your surgeon or dentist of all the products you use prior to surgery (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products).

Its symptoms, particularly dizziness and lightheadedness, may be more noticeable in older persons.

This drug should only be taken during pregnancy if absolutely necessary. Describe the advantages and disadvantages to your doctor.

Although this medicine goes into breast milk, a breastfeeding newborn is unlikely to be harmed. Before breastfeeding, speak with your doctor.

Drug interactions can alter how well your prescriptions function or raise your chance of experiencing major adverse effects. All probable medication interactions are not included in this document. Keep a list of everything you use, including herbal products, prescription and over-the-counter medications, and provide it to your doctor and pharmacist. Without your doctor’s approval, never start, stop, or change the dosage of any medications.

Lithium, memantine, methenamine, orlistat, and several seizure medications are a few items that may interact with this medication (topiramate, zonisamide).

You should always read the labels of all your medications since some of them may include aspirin or aspirin-like substances (salicylates), which can have major negative effects when used with this drug. But if your doctor has advised you to take low-dose aspirin (about 81–162 milligrams a day) to prevent heart attacks or strokes, you should keep doing so unless your doctor gives you another order. For more information, speak to your doctor or pharmacist.

Certain products contain substances that can make your swelling worse. Ask your pharmacist for advice on how to use your products properly, especially NSAIDs like ibuprofen and naproxen.

This medicine may affect some lab tests, leading to potentially inaccurate test findings. Make sure all of your doctors and lab staff are aware that you use this medication.


Away from light and moisture, keep items at room temperature. Keep out of the bathroom. Keep children and pets away from any drugs.

Unless specifically instructed to do so, avoid flushing drugs down the toilet or pouring them into drains. When the product is no longer needed or has expired, dispose of it properly. Consult your pharmacist or the neighborhood waste management firm.


Medscape  [reviewed 05/08/2022]

NCBI [reviewed 05/08/2022]

WebMD [reviewed 05/08/2022

Yousef is a community pharmacist with an extensive experience in minor ailment treatments. He is a graduate of University College London.

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