diamox for acclimitization??

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diamox for acclimitization??

Postby so_il_summit » Thu Dec 20, 2007 1:05 am

Just wondering what you guys know about this stuff.

I just saw it listed as a drug that helps speed acclimatization. Does it work? what's wrong with it?
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Re: diamox for acclimitization??

Postby MOOSE DROOL » Thu Dec 20, 2007 5:25 am

I've taken it, and it works great. You'll notice a numbness in your hands and feet, like they've fallen asleep. The only other side effect is that anything carbonated tastes funny. I don't drink sodas, but whilst on Diamox, Guinness Extra Stout and Bud Light tasted pretty similar. Living in KS, I was just looking for a little help with the acclimation process. I started taking it 2 days before I left, and the first two days out. We arrived in CO on Saturday evening, and I summited my first 14er on Sunday morning, and felt great. I have a pretty good ritual I follow before I go out anyways. No alcohol, 2 aspirin a day and tons and tons and tons of water - I feel as if I'm going to grow gills, I swear - for 2 weeks before I go out. The Diamox was just a little extra help. Worked great!
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Re: diamox for acclimitization??

Postby Steve » Thu Dec 20, 2007 5:40 am

Just to provide an alternate opinion...
I took it before going to Argentina and I hated it. Maybe I took too much. One of the side effects is weakness...that hit me pretty hard. I barely made it to 14K (which, in Colorado, without diamox, hasn't been a problem). I decided it couldn't be worse if I quit taking it so I stopped. I felt great and climbed better the next day. Now, I've never had problems with altitude so maybe that makes a difference. There seem to be differences in how different people tolerate it. You might try some at home and see how it makes you feel before the trip...that might keep you from feeling terrible when you ought to be having a good time. From now on, I'll take it with me when going for something high but I'll use it only if I need it for AMS or abnormal breathing patterns that keep me from sleeping.
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Re: diamox for acclimitization??

Postby Gahugafuga » Thu Dec 20, 2007 6:42 am

It also isn't a cure-all for altitude related ailments. While I've never needed the stuff, I had an AMS-prone relative from NYC use it on a ski trip. He said he felt better than normal from the outset because of the diamox and seemed to do well. However, on day 4 he got up the nerve to eat lunch at the top of Keystone (11k+) and ended up becoming ill just like usual. Which is to say, if you get altitude sickness diamox will merely delay the inevitable.
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Re: diamox for acclimitization??

Postby jimlup » Thu Dec 20, 2007 7:17 am

Ginkgo Biloba has recently been shown to be helpful. I've been using it and had only a minor headache on Harvard summit after 3 days aclimatization from sea level.


I'm sure diamox is useful too.
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Re: diamox for acclimitization??

Postby firsttracks » Thu Dec 20, 2007 7:36 am

I used it one time on Denali to help me sleep at 14k'. I hated it. My worst day of the entire expedition was the next day: I was really, really sluggish (and no, it wasn't just the altitude. I'd been there a while and had been feeling great.) And, it didn't even help me sleep (which is another use for Diamox at altitude). I will never take it again, unless I start feeling sustained symptoms of AMS and my life may be on the line.

I agree with the other post: take ginkgo biloba and vitamins instead. Acclimate the natural way.
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Re: diamox for acclimitization??

Postby La Mula » Thu Dec 20, 2007 7:42 am

Diamox really has been touted as the better drug, for extended high altitude;

Dex can mask symptoms and put you in a worsened situation;

Ginkgo has one flavor that helps you; unfortunately you probably won't be able to ascertain that & will be having a placebo effect for a little while;

For a 14er, why not aspirin or vitamin I, because:

There is really only one surefire cure for any of this
Last edited by La Mula on Thu Dec 20, 2007 9:26 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: diamox for acclimitization??

Postby CG_old » Thu Dec 20, 2007 8:15 am

I used to take it before climbing trips back when I lived in Indiana. I hated the side effects, but it worked great. It was the only way my wife could sleep above 8k without taking weeks to acclimatize.
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Re: diamox for acclimitization??

Postby hurdles » Thu Dec 20, 2007 8:41 am

my wife and i had it but never used it on kilimanjaro. we gave it to the guide to put in his med kit. we live in wi and often drive out over night on thurs, rest fri, climb on sat and drive home sun w/no ill effects from the altitude. eat and drinking is just as important as anything else i think. of course on higher peaks acclimatizing is just as important but i am not totally sold on the need for the diamox.
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Re: diamox for acclimitization??

Postby cheeseburglar » Thu Dec 20, 2007 8:43 am

I took some half doses of diamox when I was in Nepal to help cure what I call the night terrors. I'd take a half pill before bed. Really helped me sleep at high altitude. But I only took it for 3 nights and then went off it. By that time my acclimatization had occurred. I had spent the previous month at sea level.
It does affect people differently and makes almost everyone pee like frat kid on a Friday night. I didn't notice any side effects besides the extra peeing. Seems like the decision for me was whether to wake up at night thinking I was suffocating (the night terrors) or wake up and go to the bathroom.
The drug works by altering your blood pH. Here is the wikipedia page:
Note the recommended dose varies from 125 to 500 mg. That seems like a big range. For day trips in the Rockies, I would think the lower dose on the day of the trip would be the way to go. You may have to carry extra water and take a lot of potty breaks!
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Re: diamox for acclimitization??

Postby Alan Ellis » Thu Dec 20, 2007 8:46 am

RichAllen wrote:There is no substitute for good hydration, being in shape, and acclimating wisely.

Agreed. The wife and I took Diamox for three years each time we made a mountain trip to Colorado from Oklahoma. We finally gave it up because the side effects were worse than the AMS and we were only taking 1/2 of a pill at a time. The drug is extremely hard on the kidneys which kind of scared us.

Instead, we started doing what Rich said: good hydration, being in shape, and acclimating wisely. It worked much better.
Last edited by Alan Ellis on Thu Dec 20, 2007 8:56 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: diamox for acclimitization??

Postby JDgreen » Thu Dec 20, 2007 8:48 am

RichAllen wrote:I was in a group of 10 people who climbed Kilimanjaro in February. 6 of the group used Diamox, and those six consistently had the hardest time keeping up, staying hydrated, and summiting. The four of us who did not use it had a great time and summited easily. There is no substitute for good hydration, being in shape, and acclimating wisely.

Just curious if you thought the folks that took Diamox were using it as a majic bullet and were not conditioned properly or if they were well prepared conditioningwise and hydrationwise and just took the Diamox as an aid?

Also I saw it posted somewhere, maybe this site about very samll doses like 60 mg might be helpful??
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