Acetazolamide is used for the treatment of glaucoma, a condition characterized by elevated intraocular pressure and progressive visual impairment. This medication functions by reducing ocular pressure.
Acetazolamide is also indicated for the mitigation of symptoms, including upset stomach, headache, shortness of breath, dizziness, drowsiness, and fatigue, associated with altitude sickness. When used in combination with other pharmaceuticals, it can also aid in the reduction of edema and the management of seizures in specific forms of epilepsy.
Uses and Dosage
Take this medication orally as directed by your physician, typically one to four times daily. If you are using the extended-release capsules, take this medication orally as directed by your physician, usually once or twice daily, without breaking or chewing the capsules. Doing so can hinder the prolonged action of the medication and may increase the risk of side effects.
Acetazolamide may be taken with or without food, and adequate hydration is recommended unless advised otherwise by your physician. The prescribed dosage is based on your medical condition and response to treatment.
To prevent altitude sickness, acetazolamide should be taken one to two days before climbing and continued throughout the ascent and for at least 48 hours after reaching the final altitude. Further use may be required to control symptoms while at high altitude. Acetazolamide does not provide protection against the serious effects of severe altitude sickness.
If taking this medication for another condition, such as glaucoma or seizures, it should be taken as directed to receive maximum benefit. To assist with adherence, take it at the same time(s) each day. Taking the last dose in the early evening may prevent night time urination.
Do not exceed the prescribed dosage or use this medication more frequently or for a longer duration than advised. Doing so will not enhance the effectiveness of the medication and may increase the risk of side effects.
Prolonged use of this medication may result in decreased efficacy, necessitating modified dosing. Your physician will monitor your condition and adjust the dosage if required. If your condition does not improve or worsens, such as increased frequency of seizures, notify your physician.
This medication may lower potassium levels in the blood. Your physician may suggest potassium-rich foods, such as bananas or orange juice, while taking this medication. Your physician may also prescribe potassium supplements.
Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention:
- upset stomach
- loss of appetite
- numbness and tingling
Inform your healthcare provider immediately if you experience any serious side effects:
- increased thirst and urination
- blood in urine
- painful urination
- yellowing of the skin or eyes
- sore throat
- unusual bleeding or bruising
Before using acetazolamide, inform your healthcare provider or pharmacist of any allergies you may have, including to inactive ingredients that may cause allergic reactions or other issues.
Inform your healthcare provider or pharmacist of your medical history, particularly if you have adrenal gland problems (such as Addison’s disease), untreated mineral imbalances, dehydration, kidney disease, liver disease, breathing problems, diabetes, gout, narrow-angle glaucoma, or overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism).
Although this medication can aid in acclimating to high altitudes and facilitate the toleration of rapid ascents, it cannot entirely prevent severe altitude sickness. Symptoms of serious altitude sickness may include severe shortness of breath, changes in mental/mood, lack of coordination or a staggering walk, extreme fatigue, and severe headache.
This medication may cause dizziness, drowsiness, or blurred vision. Alcohol or marijuana may increase these effects. Do not operate machinery, drive, or engage in any activities that require alertness or clear vision until you can do so safely.
In rare instances, this medication may increase your blood sugar levels, potentially causing or exacerbating diabetes. If you experience symptoms of high blood sugar, such as increased thirst or urination, contact your doctor immediately. If you already have diabetes, regularly monitor your blood sugar as directed and share the results with your doctor. This medication may also lower your blood sugar levels. To prevent low blood sugar, maintain a regular meal schedule and do not skip meals.
This medication may increase sensitivity to the sun. Limit exposure to the sun, avoid tanning beds and sunlamps, use sunscreen, and wear protective clothing when outdoors. Notify your doctor immediately if you develop sunburn or skin blisters/redness.
Older adults may be more sensitive to the medication’s effects, particularly dizziness and lightheadedness.
This medication should only be used during pregnancy if necessary. Discuss the benefits and risks with your doctor.
This medication may pass into breast milk, but it is unlikely to harm a nursing infant. Consult with your doctor before breastfeeding.
Form and Strength
Diamox is available in the following forms and strengths:
How do you know Diamox is working?
Tingling or pins and needles feelings around the mouth and in the hands and feet is a common side effect of Diamox and suggests the medicine is working.
Can I drink coffee on Diamox?
This medication may irritate the stomach, and should be taken with food. It is best to avoid coffee, spicy food or alcohol.