The need-to-know information for Acetazolamide


Pearls and Fun Nuggets

1. Acetazolamide is used to treat a LOT of things 😳 It can treat glaucoma, epilepsy, altitude sickness, periodic paralysis, idiopathic intracranial hypertension, and heart failure. [2][3] It may be used long term for the treatment of open angle glaucoma and short term for acute angle closure glaucoma until surgery can be carried out.[4]

2. Sleep apnea too? 😴A 2012 review and meta-analysis found that there was “limited supporting evidence” but that acetazolamide “may be considered” for the treatment of central (as opposed to obstructive) sleep apnea.[15]

3. AND headaches? 😩There is some evidence to support its use to prevent hemiplegic migraine.[17]

4. Remember, it doesn’t work right away ☝ Acetazolamide is not an immediate cure for acute mountain sickness; rather, it speeds up part of the acclimatization process which in turn helps to relieve symptoms.[20]

Patient Perspectives

“We used the generic form of this medicine for a quick 3-day visit to the Rocky Mountains, to prevent altitude sickness since we were time crunched and unable to acclimate slowly. It helped us both sleep, avoided getting ill and suppressed our appetites. We did feel some very slight dizziness/lightheadedness when we first started it, but were able to pretty much ignore it. I highly recommend it if you will be unable to acclimate – your trip will not be spoiled by getting sick.”


 “Works very well to prevent symptoms of Acute Mountain Sickness with no perceived side effects. I take 125mg twice per day as recommended by the website for high altitude hiking. This actually speeds up the bodys acclimitization process and doesn’t just treat the symptoms. Highly recommend it for staying well on high altitude pursuits.


“Ok so I got these pills for altitude sickness in Peru and I got told to take one half in the morning and one half at night two days before high altitude. So I took a half when I arrived in Arequipa, around 2300m above sea level. With ONLY one small half, my hands started tingling, my whole face and me KNEES and even the upper part of my back. I couldn’t even walk correctly. Now it’s been around 27 hours I only took the half mentioned and my hands are still tingling. It is very annoying and ruined my first day in Arequipa. I won’t be taking them anymore, I prefer dealing with altitude sickness with coca gum and leaves than rather not being able to use my body correctly. Also it’s true, you go to the bathroom all the time, so it’s no good if you are trekking and don’t have easy access to a toilet.”

Brandon Simpson, PA-C
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