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Acetazolamide

Pronunciation

Generic Name: acetazolamide (a-set-a-ZOLE-a-mide)
Brand Name: Generics only. No brands available.

Acetazolamide is used for:

Treating certain types of glaucoma, epilepsy, or edema (fluid buildup) in combination with other medicines. It is also used to treat or prevent symptoms of mountain sickness. It may also be used for other conditions as determined by your doctor.

Acetazolamide is a carbonic anhydrase inhibitor. It reduces fluid pressure in the eyeball by decreasing fluid formation in the eyeball. It also increases the removal of water from the body by the kidney. It also may block certain nerve discharges that may contribute to seizures.

Do NOT use acetazolamide if:

  • you are allergic to any ingredient in acetazolamide
  • you have adrenal gland problems, low blood levels of potassium or sodium, kidney problems, liver problems (eg, cirrhosis), high blood levels of chloride, or other electrolyte problems

Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.

Slideshow: Flashback: FDA Drug Approvals 2013

Before using acetazolamide:

Some medical conditions may interact with acetazolamide. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any medical conditions, especially if any of the following apply to you:

  • if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding
  • if you are taking any prescription or nonprescription medicine, herbal preparation, or dietary supplement
  • if you have allergies to medicines, foods, or other substances
  • if you have kidney stones, a lung disease, glaucoma (eg, chronic non-congestive angle-closure glaucoma), diabetes, or difficulty breathing
  • if you have had a severe allergic reaction (eg, a severe rash, hives, breathing difficulties, or dizziness) to any other sulfonamide medicine such as acetazolamide, celecoxib, certain diuretics (eg, hydrochlorothiazide), glyburide, probenecid, sulfamethoxazole, valdecoxib, or zonisamide

Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with acetazolamide. Tell your health care provider if you are taking any of the following medicines:

  • Salicylates (eg, aspirin) because they may increase the risk of acetazolamide's side effects
  • Other carbonic anhydrase inhibitors (eg, methazolamide), cyclosporine, quinidine, phenytoin, amphetamine, or sodium bicarbonate because the risk of their side effects may be increased by acetazolamide
  • Primidone, salicylates (eg, aspirin), lithium, or methenamine because their effectiveness may be decreased by acetazolamide

This may not be a complete list of all interactions that may occur. Ask your health care provider if acetazolamide may interact with other medicines that you take. Check with your health care provider before you start, stop, or change the dose of any medicine.

How to use acetazolamide:

Use acetazolamide as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.

  • Take acetazolamide by mouth with or without food. If stomach upset occurs, take with food to reduce stomach irritation.
  • Drinking extra fluids while you are taking acetazolamide is recommended. Check with your doctor for instructions.
  • Acetazolamide may increase the amount of urine or cause you to urinate more often when you first start taking it. To keep this from disturbing your sleep, try to take your dose before 6 pm.
  • If a dose is missed, take it as soon as possible. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not take 2 doses at once.

Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use acetazolamide.

Important safety information:

  • Acetazolamide may cause drowsiness or temporary vision changes. These effects may be worse if you take it with alcohol or certain medicines. Use acetazolamide with caution. Do not drive or perform other possibly unsafe tasks until you know how you react to it.
  • Acetazolamide may cause you to become sunburned more easily. Avoid the sun, sunlamps, or tanning booths until you know how you react to acetazolamide. Use a sunscreen or wear protective clothing if you must be outside for more than a short time.
  • Tell your doctor or dentist that you take acetazolamide before you receive any medical or dental care, emergency care, or surgery.
  • Acetazolamide may interfere with certain lab tests. Be sure your doctor and lab personnel know you are taking acetazolamide.
  • Diabetes patients - Acetazolamide may affect your blood sugar. Check blood sugar levels closely. Ask your doctor before you change the dose of your diabetes medicine.
  • Lab tests, including blood electrolyte levels, complete blood cell count, or platelet levels, may be performed while you use acetazolamide. These tests may be used to monitor your condition or check for side effects. Be sure to keep all doctor and lab appointments.
  • Use acetazolamide with caution in the ELDERLY; they may be more sensitive to its effects.
  • Acetazolamide should be used with extreme caution in CHILDREN; safety and effectiveness in children have not been confirmed.
  • PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: If you become pregnant, contact your doctor. You will need to discuss the benefits and risks of using acetazolamide while you are pregnant. Acetazolamide is found in breast milk. Do not breast-feed while taking acetazolamide.

Possible side effects of acetazolamide:

All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects. Check with your doctor if any of these most COMMON side effects persist or become bothersome:

Blurred vision; changes in taste; constipation; diarrhea; drowsiness; frequent urination; loss of appetite; nausea; vomiting.

Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur:

Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); blood in urine; changes in hearing; convulsions; dark, bloody stools; dark urine; fast breathing; fever; lack of energy; lower back pain; red, swollen, or blistered skin; ringing in the ears; sore throat; tingling of the arms or legs; unusual bleeding or bruising; vision changes; yellowing of the skin or eyes.

This is not a complete list of all side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, contact your health care provider. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. To report side effects to the appropriate agency, please read the Guide to Reporting Problems to FDA.

If OVERDOSE is suspected:

Contact 1-800-222-1222 (the American Association of Poison Control Centers), your local poison control center, or emergency room immediately. Symptoms may include abnormal skin sensations (eg, tingling, tickling, itching, burning); buzzing, ringing, or whistling in the ears; drowsiness; loss of appetite; loss of coordination; nausea; tremors; unsteady movements; vomiting.

Proper storage of acetazolamide:

Store acetazolamide at room temperature, between 59 and 86 degrees F (15 and 30 degrees C). Store in a tightly closed container. Store away from heat, moisture, and light. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep acetazolamide out of the reach of children and away from pets.

General information:

  • If you have any questions about acetazolamide, please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • Acetazolamide is to be used only by the patient for whom it is prescribed. Do not share it with other people.
  • If your symptoms do not improve or if they become worse, check with your doctor.
  • Check with your pharmacist about how to dispose of unused medicine.

This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take acetazolamide or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about acetazolamide. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to acetazolamide. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using acetazolamide.

Issue Date: September 3, 2014
Database Edition 14.3.1.003
Copyright © 2014 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc.

Disclaimer: This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this medicine or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this medicine. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this medicine. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this medicine.

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