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Frequently Asked Questions

Are there any side effects to acetazolamide (Diamox, Avva)?

Short Answer

Most people do not have side effects; however, some side effects are serious.

Long Answer

As with many medications, acetazolamide (sold as Diamox or Avva) may have unwanted side effects with some people that can include a loss of appetite or changes in taste, nausea, dizziness, nervousness, headache, and changes in vision.

More serious, but far less common effects may also occur. Please see the following resources for additional information.

Additional Information

Health.msn.com: acetazolamide (From Healthwise)
Talk to your doctor if you experience: decreased appetite; nausea or vomiting; constipation or diarrhea; changes in taste; drowsiness or dizziness; fatigue or weakness; nervousness or mild tremor; headache or confusion; increased sensitivity of the skin to sunlight; worsening gout; loss of blood sugar control (if you are diabetic); ringing in your ears or hearing problems; changes in your vision.

If you experience any of the following side effects stop taking acetazolamide and seek medical attention: an allergic reaction (difficulty breathing, closing of your throat, swelling of your lips, tongue, or face, or hives); a sore throat or a fever; unusual bleeding or bruising; side or groin pain; tingling or tremors in your hands or feet; rash.
Drugs.com: Acetazolamide Tablets Facts and Comparisons
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.
RxList.com: Acetazolamide Tablets USP
Adverse reactions, occurring most often early in therapy, include paresthesias, particularly a 'tingling' feeling in the extremities, hearing dysfunction or tinnitus, loss of appetite, taste alteration and gastrointestinal disturbances such as nausea, vomiting and diarrhea; polyuria, and occasional instances of drowsiness and confusion.

Metabolic acidosis and electrolyte imbalance may occur.

Transient myopia has been reported. This condition invariably subsides upon diminution or discontinuance of the medication.

Other occasional adverse reactions include urticaria, melena, hematuria, glycosuria, hepatic insufficiency, flaccid paralysis, photosensitivity and convulsions.
Medicinenet.com: ACETAZOLAMIDE - ORAL (Diamox) side effects, medical uses, and drug interactions.
This drug may cause dizziness and lightheadedness especially during the first few days as your body adjusts to it. Rise slowly from a seated or lying position. Blurred vision, loss of appetite, itching, stomach upset, headache and weakness may also occur. If these symptoms persist or worsen, inform your doctor. Notify your doctor if you develop: muscle cramps or pain, sore throat, skin rash, unusual bleeding or bruising, tingling of the hands or feet. In the unlikely event you have an allergic reaction to this drug, seek immediate medical attention. Symptoms of an allergic reaction include: rash, itching, swelling, dizziness, trouble breathing. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.
Wikipedia: Acetazolamide
Common side effects of using this drug include numbness and tingling in the fingers and toes, and taste alterations (parageusia), especially for carbonated drinks. Some may also experience blurred vision but this usually disappears shortly after stopping the medication. Acetazolamide also increases the risk of developing calcium oxalate and calcium phosphate kidney stones. Everyone will experience more frequent urination as a result of using acetazolamide. One should drink more fluids than usual to prevent dehydration and headaches. Acetazolamide prolongs the effects of amphetamines and related drugs. Acetazolamide also causes metabolic acidosis.

Acetazolamide should not be taken by individuals if:
  • They have sickle cell anemia
  • They are allergic to sulfa medications
  • They are allergic to any carbonic anhydrase inhibitor
  • They have liver or kidney disease
  • They have adrenal gland failure (i.e. Addison's disease)
  • They are pregnant or nursing mothers