Acetazolamide is the active ingredient of Azomid tablets (Nappi code:
789771-004) & Diamox tablets (Nappi code: 719471-001).
Acetazolamide is a carbonic anhydrase inhibitor and anti-convulsant. These
are drugs that reduce pressure within the eye, and are effective (although
rarely used) in the treatment of epilepsy.
In South Africa acetazolamide is registered for the treatment of glaucoma, a
condition associated with high pressure inside the eye; altitude sickness – a
condition caused by of oxygen deficiency in the blood and tissues at high
altitudes, and epilepsy adjunct to other anti-convulsants.
This medication may make your skin more sensitive to sunlight. Sunscreen and
protective clothing are advised.
It should be noted that because this drug may cause dizziness,
light-headedness and/or sedation, driving and any hazardous tasks should be
avoided until you know how this medication affects you.
How does acetazolamide work?
Acetazolamide decreases the amount of aqueous humour produced in the eye,
thereby reducing the pressure inside the eye, making it effective in treating
In the brain it is thought to decrease abnormal neuronal firing, thereby
assisting in the treatment of epilepsy.
Drug schedule: schedule 3
Available as: acetazolamide is available as tablets
What does it do? Acetazolamide reduces pressure inside the eye and is
therefore used for treating glaucoma. It is also used to prevent mountain
sickness (altitude sickness) and to treat epilepsy.
Dependence risk: low
Is acetazolamide available as a generic? yes
Is Acetazolamide available on prescription only? yes
Onset of effect: within 90 minutes
Duration of action: up to 12 hours
Dietary advice: take with food to reduce stomach upset/irritation.
Take 2 - 3 litres of water daily to prevent dehydration and kidney stones.
Stopping this medicine: do not stop taking this drug without
consulting your doctor.
Prolonged use: regular eye examinations are advised.
Consult your doctor before using this drug if:
- you have kidney disease
- you have liver disease
- you are allergic to sulfonamides
- you are pregnant, or suspect that you may be pregnant
- you have gout
- you have a chronic lung disease
- you have diabetes
Pregnancy: avoid. Potential risk to the foetus has been reported.
Consult your doctor before use, or if you are planning to fall pregnant.
Breastfeeding: avoid. It is unknown how this medication may affect
your baby. Consult your doctor before use.
Porphyria: this medication is safe to use.
Infants and children: this medication is not intended for use in
children under the age of 5 years.
Driving and hazardous work: caution is advised as use of this
medication may lead to dizziness, light-headedness and/or sedation. Avoid such
activities until you know how this medication affects you.
Alcohol: avoid concomitant use of alcohol with this medication.
Possible side effects
||Consult your doctor
||Only if severe
||In all cases|
|unusual bleeding or bruising
||increased risk of quinidine side-effects|
increased risk of TCA side-effects
||reduced effect of phenobarbital|
||reduced effect of barbiturate|
||risk of acetazolamide loss|
||increased potassium loss|
||increased potassium loss|
||reduced concentrations of primiodone|
A small overdose is no cause for concern. In case of intentional large
overdose, seek emergency medical attention.
Adults, oral: glaucoma: 250 mg to 1 g/day
This material is not intended to substitute medical advice, but is for
informational purposes only.
Please consult a physician for specific treatment and