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Is Acetazolamide Effective and Safe for Preventing Acute Mountain Sickness?
New Rochelle, NY, July 12, 2012 –Although acetazolamide is widely prescribed to prevent and treat acute mountain sickness (AMS), the appropriate dose at which it is effective and safe has not been clearly defined. A comprehensive review and meta-analysis of 24 studies comparing the efficacy and risks associated with increasing doses of acetazolamide is published in High Altitude Medicine & Biology, a peer-reviewed journal from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers. The article is available free online at the High Altitude Medicine & Biology website.
Bengt Kayser and colleagues, University of Geneva, Switzerland, reviewed the data compiled on more than 1,000 subjects and describe the relationship between efficacy in preventing and treating AMS, risk of side effects, and increasing drug dosages. They discuss their findings in the article “Reappraisal of Acetazolamide for the Prevention of Acute Mountain Sickness: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.”
Unless the baseline risk of AMS is high, as with rapid transport to high altitude (as opposed to a slow ascent), acetazolamide has limited effectiveness. Some side effects occur with even the lowest doses of the drug, whereas others appear to be dose-dependent. The authors suggest that treatment be tailored for the individual depending on AMS risk and acceptability of the most common side effects such as increased urination, numbness and tingling, and taste disturbance.
"This is a valuable contribution on the pros and cons of using the most important medication for preventing and treating acute mountain sickness," says John B. West, MD, PhD, Editor-in-Chief of High Altitude Medicine & Biology and Professor of Medicine at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine.
About the Journal
High Altitude Medicine & Biology, the Official Journal of the International Society for Mountain Medicine, is published quarterly online. It is the only peer-reviewed journal dedicated exclusively to the latest advances in high altitude life sciences. The journal presents findings on the effects of chronic hypoxia on lung and heart disease, pulmonary and cerebral edema, hypertension, dehydration, infertility, appetite and weight loss, and other diseases. Complete tables of content and sample issue may be viewed online at the High Altitude Medicine & Biology website.
About the Publisher
Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers is a privately held, fully integrated media company known for establishing authoritative peer-reviewed journals in many promising areas of science and biomedical research, including Journal of Aerosol Medicine and Pulmonary Drug Delivery, and Pediatric Allergy, Immunology, and Pulmonology. Its biotechnology trade magazine, Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News (GEN), was the first in its field and is today the industry’s most widely read publication worldwide. A complete list of the firm’s 70 journals, books, and newsmagazines is available at the Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers website.