Acetazolamide

Uses

Acetazolamide is 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 high altitudes (generally above 10,000 feet/3,048 meters). It is particularly useful in situations when you cannot make a slow ascent. The best ways to prevent altitude sickness are climbing slowly, stopping for 24 hours during the climb to allow the body to adjust to the new height, and taking it easy the first 1 to 2 days.

This drug is also used with other medications to treat a certain type of eye problem (open-angle glaucoma). Acetazolamide is a “water pill” (diuretic). It decreases the amount of fluid that can build up in the eye. It is also used to decrease a buildup of body fluids (edema) caused by congestive heart failure or certain medications.

Side Effects

Dizziness, lightheadedness, or increased urination may occur, especially during the first few days as your body adjusts to the medication. Blurred vision, dry mouth, drowsiness, loss of appetite, stomach upset, headache and tiredness may also occur. If any of these symptoms persist or worsen, notify your doctor or pharmacist.

Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.

Tell your doctor right away if any of these very unlikely but serious side effects occur: increased body hair, hearing loss, ringing in the ears, unusual tiredness, persistent nausea/vomiting, severe stomach/abdominal pain.

Precautions

Before taking acetazolamide, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.

This medication should not be used if you have certain medical conditions. Before using this medicine, consult your doctor or pharmacist if you have: adrenal gland problems (e.g., Addison’s disease), low blood levels of sodium or potassium, severe kidney disease, severe liver disease (e.g., cirrhosis), certain metabolic problems (e.g., hyperchloremic acidosis).

Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: breathing problems (e.g., emphysema, chronic bronchitis), high levels of calcium, dehydration, diabetes mellitus, gout, narrow-angle glaucoma, overactive

Interactions

Drug interactions may change how your medications work or increase your risk for serious side effects. This document does not contain all possible drug interactions. Keep a list of all the products you use (including prescription/nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicines without your doctor’s approval.

Some products that may interact with this drug include: cisapride, methenamine, anticonvulsants (e.g., phenytoin, primidone, phenobarbital, topiramate, zonisamide), digoxin, drugs that cause loss of potassium (e.g., diuretics such as furosemide, corticosteroids such as prednisone, amphotericin B), lithium, memantine, quinidine, salicylates (e.g., aspirin, bismuth subsalicylate), sodium bicarbonate, tricyclic antidepressants (e.g., amitriptyline).

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