Acetazolamide 250mg Tablets

£24.99£87.99

Altitude sickness, or acute mountain sickness (AMS), can occur if a person travels to a high altitude too quickly. At over 3,000m above sea-level it isn’t possible to take in as much oxygen which makes breathing difficult and between 6 and 24 hours after reaching that height, altitude symptoms may develop. Acetazolamide is an altitude medication which effectively treats and prevents the symptoms of elevation sickness, such as: shortness of breath, loss of appetite, tiredness, dizziness, nausea and vomiting and headache. By taking Acetazolamide medicine 1-2 days before the trip and whilst going up in altitude, these symptoms should be minimal.

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Altitude Sickness

Altitude sickness can occur when you travel to a high altitude too quickly.

Breathing becomes difficult because you aren’t able to take in as much oxygen.

Altitude sickness, also called acute mountain sickness (AMS), can become a medical emergency if ignored.

Age, sex or physical fitness have no bearing on your likelihood of getting altitude sickness.

Just because you haven’t had it before doesn’t mean you won’t develop it on another trip.

Symptoms of altitude sickness

Symptoms of altitude sickness usually develop between 6 and 24 hours after reaching altitudes more than 3,000m (9,842 feet) above sea level.

Symptoms are similar to those of a bad hangover.

They include:

headache
nausea and vomiting
dizziness
tiredness
loss of appetite
shortness of breath
The symptoms are usually worse at night.

Medication

Consider travelling with these medicines for altitude sickness:

acetazolamide to prevent and treat high altitude sickness
ibuprofen and paracetamol for headaches
anti-sickness medication, like promethazine, for nausea

Preventing altitude sickness
The best way to prevent altitude sickness is to travel to altitudes above 3,000m slowly.

It usually takes a few days for the body to get used to a change in altitude.

You should also:

avoid flying directly to areas of high altitude, if possible
take 2-3 days to get used to high altitudes before going above 3,000m
avoid climbing more than 300-500m a day
have a rest day every 600-900m you go up, or every 3-4 days
make sure you’re drinking enough water
avoid alcohol
avoid strenuous exercise for the first 24 hours
eat a light but high calorie diet
avoid smoking
Acetazolamide, available from a travel clinic and, in some areas, your GP, can help prevent symptoms. It’s thought to help you adjust more quickly to high altitudes.

You should begin taking the medication 1-2 days before you start to go up in altitude and continue to take it while going up.

If using acetazolamide, you should still go up gradually and follow the general prevention advice.

If you get symptoms of altitude sickness while taking acetazolamide, you should rest or go down until you feel better before going up again.

After 2-3 days, your body should have adjusted to the altitude and your symptoms should disappear.

See a doctor if your symptoms don’t improve or get worse.

Complications
If the symptoms of altitude sickness are ignored, they can lead to life-threatening conditions affecting the brain or lungs.

High altitude cerebral oedema (HACE)
High altitude cerebral oedema (HACE) is the swelling of the brain caused by a lack of oxygen.

Symptoms of HACE:

headache
weakness
nausea and vomiting
loss of co-ordination
feeling confused
hallucinations
A person with HACE often doesn’t realise they’re ill, and may insist they’re all right and want to be left alone.

HACE can develop quickly over a few hours. It can be fatal if it’s not treated immediately.

Treating HACE:

move down to a lower altitude immediately
take dexamethasone
give bottled oxygen, if available
Dexamethasone is a steroid medication that reduces swelling of the brain.

If you can’t go down immediately, dexamethasone can help relieve symptoms until it’s safe to do so.

You should go to hospital as soon as possible for follow-up treatment.

High altitude pulmonary oedema (HAPE)
High altitude pulmonary oedema (HAPE) is a build-up of fluid in the lungs.

Symptoms of HAPE:

blue tinge to the skin (cyanosis)
breathing difficulties, even when resting
tightness in the chest
a persistent cough, bringing up pink or white frothy liquid (sputum)
tiredness and weakness
The symptoms of HAPE can start to appear a few days after arrival at high altitude. It can be fatal if it’s not treated immediately.

Treating HAPE:

move down to a lower altitude immediately
take nifedipine
give bottled oxygen, if available
The medication nifedipine helps to reduce chest tightness and ease breathing.

You should go to hospital as soon as possible for follow-up treatment.

If you’ve had HAPE, you can register with the International HAPE Database to help develop new treatments for the condition.

Medication

Product Description

What is Acetazolamide?

Acetazolamide is a prescription only drug that is used for the prevention of altitude sickness. It should not be used as an alternative to the preparation for ascending high altitudes or acclimatization.
This belongs to a group of medicines known as carbonic anhydrase inhibitors and can help with abnormal retention of fluids (Acetazolamide 250mg Tablets acts as a diuretic)

Acetazolamide tablets work by increasing the amount of urine that is produced in the body, which effects the acidity of the blood. This consequently reduces the amount of fluid in the head and lungs, improving your breathing and relives your symptoms. If you are feeling unwell while you are ascending, then it is recommended to descend or to have a rest.

How to take Acetazolamide

For the treatment of altitude sickness, one Acetazolamide 250mg tablet should be taken twice a day (every 12 hours). The treatment should be taken 1 – 2 days before you start to climb, and should be continued during the climb and for at least 2 days after you have reached your final altitude. However, if you find you are experiencing any side effects, it may be recommended to take half a dose twice a day. You can split these tablets in half with a pill cutter which may be bought from any pharmacy.

DO NOT take Acetazolamide 250mg Tablets if:

• you know you are allergic to sulphonamides, sulphonamide derivatives including acetazolamide or to any of the ingredients in
the medicine (listed in Section 6 at the end of this leaflet)
• you have severe liver problems
• you have or have ever had severe kidney problems
• you have a particular type of glaucoma known as chronic non congestive angle closure glaucoma (your doctor will be able to advise you)
• you have reduced function of the adrenal glands – glands above the kidneys – (also known as Addison’s disease)
• you have low blood levels of sodium and/or potassium or high blood levels of chlorine (your doctor will advise you).

Side Effects

Like all medicines, Acetazolamide 250mg Tablets can cause side effects, although not everybody gets them.
All medicines can cause allergic reactions although serious allergic reactions are very rare. Any sudden wheeziness,
difficulty in breathing, swelling of the eyelids, face or lips, rash or itching (especially affecting your whole body)
should be reported to a doctor immediately.
Extremely rarely, Acetazolamide 250mg Tablets can affect the cells in your blood. This could mean that you are more likely to
catch infections and that your blood may not clot properly. If you have a sore throat or fever or you notice bruises or tiny red or
purple spots on your skin you should contact your doctor immediately. If your muscles feel weak or you have fits, you should see
your doctor immediately.
Very rarely, Acetazolamide 250mg Tablets can affect the liver and kidneys. If you experience pain in your lower back, pain or
burning when you pass urine, have difficulty in passing urine, or you stop passing urine, have blood in your urine, pale stools, or
if your skin or eyes look slightly yellow, you should contact your doctor. You should also contact your doctor if your stools are black
or tarry, or if you notice blood in your stools.
Common side effects are:
• headache
• diarrhoea
• feeling or being sick, loss of appetite, thirst, or a metallic taste in the mouth
• dizziness, loss of full control of arms or legs
• looking flushed
• a need to pass urine more often than normal
• tiredness or irritability
• feeling over-excited
• a tingling or numbness in the fingers or toes, or coldness in the extremities.
Uncommon side effects are:
• depression
• drowsiness or confusion
• a loss of interest in sex
• ringing in the ears or difficulty in hearing
• temporary short-sightedness which subsides when the dosage is reduced or treatment is stopped

For a full list of side effects see Patient information leaflet.

Further Information

Further information can be found on the manufacturers
Paitient Information Leaflet and printed if required.