Acetazolamide is a medication used to treat symptoms of altitude sickness. Acetazolamide is a generic version of the branded treatment called Diamox. This medication is ideal for those who suffer nausea, headaches and dizziness.
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What is Acetazolamide?

Acetazolamide is a drug belonging to the carbonic anhydrase inhibitors class of drugs. It comes in both capsule and tablet forms and is prescribed for a variety of purposes but is largely used to relieve symptoms of altitude sickness. 

How does Acetazolamide work?

This drug inhibits the carbonic anhydrase enzyme, which breaks down the carbonic acid. Thus, more carbonic acid will accumulate in your blood, lowering the blood pH. Carbonic anhydrase enzyme causes the reabsorption of chloride, bicarbonate and sodium, and its inhibition will result in the excretion of these salts from the body. The loss of salts will also result in the loss of water from the body. The result will be a lower BP, lower intraocular and intracranial pressures etc.

Is Acetazolamide for me?

This medication has several uses and may be prescribed for the reasons below:

  • Glaucoma, in which the accumulation of fluid in the eye can result in the loss of vision
  • The symptoms of altitude sickness, e.g., breath shortness, stomach issues, fatigue, dizziness etc.
  • Oedema in which the excess fluids accumulate in the body, e.g., due to heart failure etc.
  • Seizures, e.g., during epilepsy etc. 

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Side Effects

All medications can cause potential side effects, below we have listed some potential side effects, however, these do not always occur.

The common side effects noted are;

  • Loss of appetite
  • Stomach issues
  • Vomiting

The following issues require emergency care;

  • Unusual Bruising or bleeding 
  • Seizures
  • Headache, drowsiness and confusing
  • Fever
  • Increased urination and thirst 
  • Tingling and numbness
  • Pain during urination or bloody urine.

There could be other side effects too. So, you need to keep a close eye and report them to the physician for immediate response.

Disclaimer: This website does not constitute as medical advice, you should also consult with a doctor before taking medication. If you experience any major reactions to any medication you are taking, you must seek immediate medical attention.


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Commonly Used Dosage Guidelines for Acetazolamide.

The recommended dosage depends upon the purpose of use.

For altitude sickness:

  • Treatment should be started 1-2 days before the expected ascent. The dosing should be adjusted to deliver 500-1000mg daily in divided doses. For emergency situations, a higher dose of 1000mg is recommended.

For glaucoma:

  • The recommended dose is 500mg twice daily. So, you need to take two tablets in the morning and two in the evening. The dose, however, needs to be adjusted according to the response

Disclaimer: This website does not provide medical advice. No information listed on this website is intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment before undergoing a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

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When should acetazolamide be used?

If you suffer from altitude sickness, you should consider asking your doctor if acetazolamide is right for you. However, it should not be used if you have allergic reactions, liver diseases, electrolyte imbalance, kidney diseases etc.

What will happen if acetazolamide is suddenly stopped?

It should be used and stooped only after consulting the physician. Stopping it will cause the symptoms of the problems to come back. You should also not offer it to anyone despite having the same symptoms.

Can alcohol be used while taking acetazolamide?

Drinking alcohol is not advised as dizziness and drowsiness are among the common side effects, and alcohol can aggravate these effects.


Can acetazolamide cause weight loss?

While the effect seems less common, some studies have reported weight loss as one of the side effects of the drug.

Does acetazolamide lower blood pressure?

It has orthostatic effects and causes a significant decrease in standing systolic blood pressure. That's why it is used for altitude sickness. 

Which medicines should be avoided while taking acetazolamide?

Acetazolamide can interact with various drugs, e.g., anticoagulants, diuretics, digoxin, diabetes drugs, aspirin (and other salicylates), quinidine, CNS stimulants, drugs influencing salts etc. Consult the physician before using it while on these drugs. In principle, you need a consultation before using it while on any other medication.

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