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Precautions

Before you start taking acetazolamide, inform your doctor or pharmacist if you have had allergic reactions to it in the past, or if you currently have any other allergies. Acetazolamide contains certain inactive ingredients that can cause an allergic reaction if you are not careful.

This medication should not be used if you have medical conditions like:

  • Adrenal gland problems like Addison’s disease
  • Low blood levels of sodium or potassium
  • Severe kidney disease,
  • Severe liver disease
  • Cirrhosis
  • Certain metabolic problems like hyperchloremic acidosis

Inform your doctor prior to taking acetazolamide if you have a medical history of:

  • Breathing problems like emphysema or chronic bronchitis
  • High levels of calcium
  • Dehydration
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Gout
  • Narrow-angle glaucoma
  • Overactive thyroid

While acetazolamide is mostly used for helping you get used to higher altitudes and for tolerating quick climbs, it will not completely prevent altitude sickness. Symptoms of serious altitude sickness may include:

  • Severe shortness of breath
  • Mental instabilities like confusion and difficulty concentrating
  • Mood swings
  • Lack of coordination like staggering while walking
  • Extreme tiredness
  • Severe headache

If you get any of these symptoms, you should go down to a lower altitude as quickly and safely can. Do not drive, use machinery, or do any activity that requires you to be alert and have clear vision.

More important information:

  • Limit alcohol beverages while you are using this drug.
  • Acetazolamide may make you more sensitive to the sun. Avoid being in direct sun, tanning booths, and sun lamps. Use sunscreen lotion and wear protective clothing when you go outdoors.
  • Minimize dizziness and lightheadedness by slowly getting up when you are sitting or lying down.
  • This medication may cause your blood sugar levels to rise and may worsen diabetes. Inform your doctor immediately if you are starting to get symptoms of high blood sugar like thirst or tiredness. If you already have diabetes, check your blood sugar levels often. If you don’t have glucose tablets or gel around you can also eat a quick source of sugar like honey, candy, or a glass of juice to raise your blood sugar level again.
  • Acetazolamide should not be used for children under 12 years, as it may affect normal growth.
  • This medication should be used with caution by the elderly as they may be more sensitive to side effects, especially if they have low potassium or sodium.
  • This medication passes into breast milk, but not enough is known about the safety of it for your baby. Always consult your doctor before using medications while breastfeeding.
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