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Acetazolamide is a medication used to treat an eye condition called glaucoma. It is also prescribed to prevent or treat the symptoms of altitude sickness. It is sometimes known by its brand names Diamox or Eytazox.
- Reduces symptoms of altitude sickness
- Eases headache, nausea and dizziness
- Useful if you can't make a slow ascent
- Genuine medication
- Shipped from EU Pharmacies
- Acetazolamide is used to treat glaucoma
- In patients with glaucoma, it reduces the increased eye pressure to prevent damage to the optic nerve
- Acetazolamide is also used to prevent and treat altitude sickness
- Acetazolamide counteracts the respiratory changes that occur at high altitudes, helping you to acclimatise faster or treat high altitude illnesses.
- For glaucoma, 250mg to 1000mg should be taken in doses divided throughout the day
- To prevent altitude sickness, 125mg twice a day is often prescribed
- Acetazolamide can cause sleepiness or make you feel dizzy. Care must therefore be taken before driving or operating machinery when taking this medication
- Acetazolamide may not suit everyone so it is important to take advice from your prescriber or healthcare professional before taking it
- It is important to read the patient leaflet for a full list of side effects and cautions.
How Does Acetazolamide Work?
Glaucoma occurs when fluid builds up in the front of the eye. This increases the pressure within the eye, and can cause damage to the optic nerve. If not treated, this can lead to blurred vision, or even loss of vision.
In patients with glaucoma, acetazolamide reduces the amount of carbonic anhydrase in the eye. This reduces the high pressure within the eye, helping to alleviate symptoms by taking pressure off the optic nerve.
Being at high altitude can lead to signs of altitude sickness including headache, sickness, tiredness, feeling dizzy and difficulty sleeping. When acetazolamide is prescribed to prevent or treat sickness associated with high altitude, it reduces carbonic anhydrase within the body. This prevents the changes in breathing and respiratory processes that occur at high altitude, and facilitates the excretion of waste products in the urine.
This helps those climbing mountains or visiting a high altitude location to acclimatize as well as preventing high altitude disorders from occurring. For those who already have symptoms of altitude sickness, acetazolamide can be a helpful treatment. If you do develop symptoms, you should stop at the altitude you are at before proceeding higher. If your symptoms don’t settle within 24 hours, you must descend to a lower altitude to avoid serious illness.
How is Acetazolamide Taken?
Acetazolamide is available as a tablet. The tablets should be swallowed whole with a glass of water, and can be taken just before or just after meals.
Dosage of Acetazolamide
If you are taking acetazolamide for glaucoma, your dose is likely to be 1 to 4 tablets (250mg to 1000mg daily) split across three or four doses.
If you are taking acetazolamide to prevent or treat altitude sickness, 125mg is often prescribed to be taken twice a day.
Sustained release preparations of acetazolamide are available, which may reduce the number of tablets you need to take each day.
Are there any Side Effects?
Like all medications, acetazolamide can have some side effects. The most common side effects include:
- Sleepiness or feeling tired
- Feeling dizzy
- Nausea or vomiting (feeling sick or being sick)
- Pins and needles
- A metallic taste in the mouth
- Lack of appetite
- Feeling irritable
- Looking flushed
- Increased thirst and passing urine more frequently.
If you feel tired or sleepy after taking acetazolamide, you must not drive or operate heavy machinery or tools.
If any of the side effects do not settle or are troublesome, you should speak to your doctor for advice.
If you have a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) including breathlessness, lip or tongue swelling, call 999 immediately.
Acetazolamide may not be suitable for everyone. You should tell your doctor if you have:
- Liver or kidney disease
- Difficulty passing urine
- Breathing or lung problems
- Adrenal gland disease including Addison’s disease
- Low potassium or low sodium levels
- Ever had an allergic reaction to this or another medication.
Acetazolamide is not suitable for women who are pregnant, trying to conceive, or breastfeeding.
Some medications can interact with acetazolamide. You may be advised that acetazolamide will not suit you if you already take:
- Blood thinning medications
- Medicines for diabetes
- Medications for high blood pressure
- Medications for heart disease
- Medications for epilepsy or seizures
- Sodium bicarbonate
- Recreational drugs including amphetamines.
Because acetazolamide may not suit everyone, we will complete a Consultation with you including a health questionnaire. This will ensure that the medication will be suitable for you.
A qualified prescriber will review your current medications, including any herbal remedies or supplements, to ensure that acetazolamide will not interact with them.
Once prescribed, acetazolamide will be ordered on your behalf via electronic prescription, allowing you to pick the medication up at your convenience.