acetazolamide oral, Diamox

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Medical and Pharmacy Editor:

GENERIC NAME: acetazolamide oral


DRUG CLASS AND MECHANISM: Acetazolamide is man-made medication used most often for treating glaucoma. It reduces intraocular pressure in the eye by reducing the formation of aqueous humor, the fluid filling the anterior chamber of the eye. Reduction in intraocular pressure relieves the symptoms and complications of glaucoma. Acetazolamide works by blocking carbonic anhydrase, an enzyme that is needed for formation of aqueous humor. The FDA approved acetazolamide in July 1953.



PREPARATIONS: Capsules (Extended Release): 500 mg. Tablets: 125 and 250 mg

STORAGE: Acetazolamide should be stored at room temperature 20 C to 25 C (68 F to 77 F)

PRESCRIBED FOR: Acetazolamide is used for treating chronic simple (open-angle) glaucoma, secondary glaucoma, and acute angle-closure glaucoma if surgery is delayed. It also is used for treating acute mountain (altitude) sickness.

DOSING: The recommended dose for treating glaucoma using extended release capsules is 500 mg (1 capsule) two times a day.

The dose for acute mountain sickness is 500 to 1000 mg daily using capsules. Treatment should start 24 to 48 hours before climbing to high altitudes and continue for 48 hours or longer while at high altitudes to control symptoms of mountain sickness.

DRUG INTERACTIONS: Acetazolamide may increase blood levels of phenytoin (Dilantin, Dilantin-125) and reduce blood levels of primidone by altering the breakdown of these drugs.

Acetazolamide can reduce elimination of quinidine (Quinidine Gluconate, Quinidine Sulfate) and amphetamines in the urine, increasing the effects of these drugs.

Lithium (Lithobid, Eskalith) levels may be increased and the action of methenamine may be reduced by acetazolamide.

Combining acetazolamide and sodium bicarbonate increases the risk of kidney stones.

PREGNANCY: There are no adequate studies of acetazolamide use in pregnant women.

NURSING MOTHERS: Acetazolamide is present in breast milk and may harm the infant. Acetazolamide should not be used while nursing or nursing should be discontinued.

SIDE EFFECTS: Side effects of acetazolamide include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headache, feeling unwell, fatigue, fever, flushing, growth retardation in children, paralysis, and severe allergic reactions.

REFERENCE: FDA Prescribing Information.

Last Editorial Review: 4/21/2014

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