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Table of Contents > Drugs >  Acetazolamide
Acetazolamide
Pronunciation
Brand Names
Foreign Brand Names
Therapeutic Categories
Reasons not to take this medicine
What is this medicine used for?
How does it work?
How is it best taken?
What do I do if I miss a dose?
What are the precautions when taking this medicine?
What are the common side effects of this medicine?
What should I monitor?
Reasons to call healthcare provider immediately
How should I store this medicine?
General statements

Pronunciation
(a set a ZOLE a mide)

Brand Names
Diamox®; Diamox Sequels®

Foreign Brand Names
Acetazolam® (Canada); Apo-Acetazolamide® (Canada); Novo-Zolamide® (Canada)

Therapeutic Categories
Anticonvulsant, Miscellaneous; Carbonic Anhydrase Inhibitor; Diuretic, Carbonic Anhydrase Inhibitor; Ophthalmic Agent, Antiglaucoma

Reasons not to take this medicine

  • If you have an allergy to acetazolamide, sulfonamides, or any other part of the medicine.
  • If you have any of the following conditions: Liver disease; low sodium and/or potassium levels; poor adrenal function, hyperchloremic acidosis, severe kidney disease or severe lung disease; narrow angle glaucoma.


What is this medicine used for?

  • This medicine is used to treat glaucoma.
  • Other uses include ridding the body of extra salt and water, preventing seizures.
  • It also prevents altitude sickness by shortening the time of acclimation during rapid ascents. It also decreases or prevents symptoms of altitude sickness. It has little effect on symptoms once they occur.


How does it work?

  • Acetazolamide decreases production of fluid behind the eye. It lowers the pressure in the eye.
  • It gets rid of salt and water through the kidneys. It calms the brain to prevent seizures.


How is it best taken?

  • Take with or without food. Take with food if this medicine causes an upset stomach.
  • Swallow sustained-release capsule whole. Do not chew, break, or crush.
  • A liquid (suspension) is available if you cannot swallow pills. Those who have feeding tubes can also use the liquid. Flush the feeding tube before and after medicine is given. Shake well first.


What do I do if I miss a dose?

  • Take a missed dose as soon as possible.
  • If it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed one. Return to your regular schedule.
  • Do not take a double dose or extra doses.


What are the precautions when taking this medicine?

  • You may not be alert. Avoid driving, doing other tasks or activities until you see how this medicine affects you.
  • Be careful if you have G-6-PD deficiency. Anemia may occur. Talk with healthcare provider.
  • You can get sunburned more easily. Avoid lots of sun. Use sunscreen; wear protective clothing and eyewear.
  • Use caution if you have lung disease. This includes chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, chronic bronchitis, or emphysema.
  • Tell healthcare provider if you are allergic to any medicine. Make sure to tell about the allergy and how it affected you. This includes telling about rash; hives; itching; shortness of breath; wheezing; cough; swelling of face, lips, tongue, or throat; or any other symptoms involved.
  • Tell healthcare provider if you are pregnant or plan on getting pregnant.
  • Tell healthcare provider if you are breast-feeding.


What are the common side effects of this medicine?

  • Nausea or vomiting. Small frequent meals, frequent mouth care, sucking hard candy, or chewing gum may help.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Metal-like taste. Food may have a bitter or sour taste.


What should I monitor?

  • If you are using this medicine for glaucoma, get eye pressures checked regularly. Talk with healthcare provider.
  • Follow up with healthcare provider.


Reasons to call healthcare provider immediately

  • Signs of a life-threatening reaction. These include wheezing; tightness in the chest; fever; itching; bad cough; blue skin color; fits; swelling of face, lips, tongue, or throat.
  • Severe nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.
  • Serious eye pain or changes in vision if using for glaucoma.
  • Any rash.


How should I store this medicine?

  • Store in a tight, light-resistant container at room temperature.
  • Follow directions from pharmacy for storage of suspension.


General statements

  • Do not share your medicine with others and do not take anyone else's medicine.
  • Keep all medicine out of the reach of children and pets.
  • Keep a list of all your medicines (prescription, herbal/supplements, vitamins, over-the-counter) with you. Give this list to healthcare provider (doctor, nurse, pharmacist, physician assistant).
  • Talk with healthcare provider before starting any new medicine, including over-the-counter or natural products (herbs, vitamins).


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