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A 29-year-old male asked:

Are there any over-the-counter drugs or vitamins/supplements you recommend to prevent altitude sickness (i'm an avid skier)? and yes i know all about drinking water and avoiding alcohol.

3 doctor answers4 doctors weighed in
Dr. Vicken Poochikian
Internal Medicine 42 years experience
Dramamine (dimenhydrinate) tablets. : Ask the pharmacist , they will show you the choices. I believe dramamine (dimenhydrinate) is otc.
Dr. Maulik Shah
Clinical Genetics 24 years experience
Yes: The caveat is that there are a number of studies which show no benefit to supplements in preventing altitude sickness. However, altitude sickness is caused by increased respiration resulting in alteration in acid/base balance. Diamoxx (which is prescription) counters this in the kidney. Once can try drinking sodium bicarbonate (in water). Also reports suggest n-acetyl-cysteine may work.
Dr. Marybeth Lambe
Travel Medicine 45 years experience
How about...: Why not prescription for Diamox (acetazolamide) (unless you have sulfa allergy?) other meds have shown promise but should be discussed with proper provider: Motrin (required dose is high and can cause stomach upset) sleeping at lower altitude than daytime activity helps as does starting slow the first day or two--if a multiple day event. If going up only for a day-diamox is good choice: taken 12-24 hours earlier.

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Last updated Feb 19, 2015

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