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Diamox is an oral pill made up of acetazolamide, a carbonic anhydrase inhibitor and anticonvulsant. This medication can be bought as the brand choice Diamox or as the generic alternative (acetazolamide) available in 250mg!

Diamox is a medication prescribed to prevent and reduce symptoms of altitude sickness. Altitude sickness occurs when you begin to feel negative health effects from rapid exposure to high elevations and low oxygen (generally above 10,000 feet/3,048 meters). Symptoms can include headaches, tiredness, nausea and dizziness.  Diamox helps this condition by inhibiting the carbonic anhydrase enzyme which counteracts with a low level of carbon dioxide in the blood that results from rapid or deep breathing (called respiratory alkalosis) which occurs during ascent to altitude while also allowing the excretion of bicarbonate in the urine; reducing altitude sickness.

This medication can alternatively be prescribed with other medications to treat high pressure located in the eye, caused by glaucoma. Edema can be reduced in people with congestive heart failure and certain types of seizures can also be treated with Diamox. Diamox helps these conditions by blocking and reducing the activity of carbonic anhydrase in the body which causes a decrease in fluids.

Only take this medication the way that your doctor has directed you too. Taking the incorrect dose can lead to unwanted side effects, ineffectiveness, or adverse interactions.

This medication is to be taken with a full glass of water. This is usually done 1-4 times a day, with or without food.

You dose will depend entirely on the condition you are treating, you may only need to take this pill every other day; speak with your doctor to find out your dose recommendation.


You should always make sure to tell your doctor about all medical conditions – past and current – as well as all medications you are currently taking. This includes prescription, over the counter, herbal supplements, and vitamins. This is needed to determine if Diamox is right for you.

Your doctor will likely tell you not to take Diamox if you have…

·         severe liver disease, or cirrhosis;

·         severe kidney disease;

·         an electrolyte imbalance (such as acidosis or low levels of potassium or sodium in your blood);

·         adrenal gland failure; or

·         an allergy to acetazolamide or sulfa drugs.

You may still be able to take Diamox, but may need a dose adjustment or extra pre caution when taking Diamox, if you…

·         have severe breathing problems;

·         have angle closure glaucoma; or

·         take aspirin in high doses.

This medication may or may not harm an unborn baby; speak to your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to be.

Acetazolamide can pass into breast milk and has potential to harm a nursing infant; you should not breastfeed while on Diamox.

Diamox is not for us in children under 18 years old.

Side Effects

Common side effects of Diamox (acetazolamide) may include:

nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, diarrhea; numbness or tingling, especially in your arms and legs; drowsiness, confusion; hearing problems, ringing in your ears; increased urination; or altered sense of taste.

The above side effects should not alarm you.

Serious side effects of Diamox (acetazolamide) may include:

blood in urine or stools; a seizure (convulsions); loss of movement in any part of your body;

If you have any of the above side effects, contact your doctor right away.

Signs to watch for:

a blood cell disorder--sudden weakness or ill feeling, fever, chills, sore throat, mouth sores, pale skin, feeling tired or short of breath, rapid heart rate, nosebleeds, bleeding gums;

liver problems--nausea, upper stomach pain or swelling, tired feeling, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes);

metabolic acidosis--confusion, vomiting, lack of energy, irregular heartbeats;

kidney stone--pain in your side or lower back, blood in your urine, painful or difficult urination; or

severe skin reaction--fever, sore throat, swelling in your face or tongue, burning in your eyes, skin pain followed by a red or purple skin rash that spreads (especially in the face or upper body) and causes blistering and peeling.


What is the average dose for an adult with glaucoma? With altitude sickness?

The average dose for an adult with glaucoma: one 500mg capsule two times a day; morning and evening

The average dose for an adult with altitude sickness: 500mg – 1000mg daily; in divided doses

Is this safe for children?

No. this product should not be used in those 0-17 years old.

What does this tablet look like?

Usually, it is a small, white, round pill. Appearances can vary between generic and brand choices.

What other conditions may this drug be used for?

Diamox has also been prescribed in the past to treat; water on the brain with obstruction of cerebrospinal fluid, epilepsy, inherited periodic paralysis, increase pH of urine, a condition with high fluid pressure in the brain, among others.

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