"Diamox, My Saviour" Arequipa Favorite Tip by neurochic
Arequipa General: 17 reviews and 17 photos
Favorite thing: Okay first and foremost, no drug is benign and you should always consult your doctor to see whether you can take a med or not, but for me Diamox helped me tremendously on my trip in Peru. Diamox (aka acetazolamide) is a drug that physicians use mainly for patients with increased pressure in their brains or as a diuretic. In terms of altitude, it works to help your body acclimatize to the altitude quicker than normal. Often times people who come from an area at or below sea level who visit Peru suffer from headaches because of the change in altitude. You can even possibly get altitude sickness.
The dose that I used and what is recommended by the International Society for Mountain Medicine is 250mg every 12 hours starting 24 hours before an ascent and you stop it by the 2nd or 3rd day at your highest ascent. Diamox does not prevent altitude sickness! If you have any of the symptoms of altitude sickness like extreme headache not relieved with tylenol or motrin, nausea, vomiting, lightheadedness, difficulty breathing, or a change in your mental status, then definitely get some oxygen and descend as quickly as possible.
Furthermore, Diamox did have some unpleasant side effects. Because it is a diuretic, you urinate often and with my already small bladder, this completely sucked. Also if you are allergic to sulfa meds you can't take it. Also, you can get a pins and needles feeling in your feet and your fingers which was so annoying for my husband that he had to stop taking it. All of these side effects go away once you stop the med. There were reports of some having a change in their vision while taking the med. If this happens to you, stop the med immediately!
The International Society of Mountain Medicine has an awesome website with info about Diamox and altitude sickness. Here is a link Altitude Sickness
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