3 Best Altitude Sickness Tablets
There's are many altitude sickness tablets and medicines options on the market today. As a company based in the high altitude state of Colorado, we'll reveal the three best altitude sickness tablets with the research to back them.
Altitude Sickness Tablets
Whether searching for the best altitude sickness tablets, anti altitude sickness tablets, or high altitude sickness tablets ─ altitude sickness can be treated with prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications in tablet form.
Altitude sickness tablets are an effective and easy way to prevent the symptoms of altitude sickness from happening in the first place, or minimizing the symptoms.
Each altitude sickness tablet works in a different way to help your body adapt more quickly to higher altitudes. The three medications have been around for decades and have been used by climbers and hikers around the world to prevent altitude sickness.
Keep reading to find out the three best altitude sickness tablets available.
What Causes Altitude Sickness?
Altitude sickness is caused by the decreased amount of oxygen available at higher elevations, making it difficult on the body.
At sea level, one liter of air contains about 20% oxygen (O2). At 8,000 feet (3,657 meters) above sea level in a place like Aspen Colorado, the same volume of air may only contain 15% oxygen.¹
These changes in oxygen content affect people differently depending on their health, age, how they are accustomed to living at high elevations, and other factors.
If you climb too quickly or travel too high, you might get altitude sickness from the lower oxygen levels, physiological stress, and increased respiration.
Symptoms Of Altitude Sickness
Altitude sickness, also known as Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS), is a general term for the symptoms in people who ascend to high altitudes too rapidly.
The symptoms of altitude sickness are many and varied. Altitude sickness symptoms include headache, nausea, vomiting, dizziness and shortness of breath. Some people also experience fatigue, insomnia and loss of appetite.
Common symptoms of altitude sickness include:
- Nausea or vomiting
- Shortness of breath
- Fatigue or exhaustion
- Loss of appetite
- Rapid breathing while resting
- Confusion and disorientation (severe cases)
Altitude sickness can be helped by things such as altitude sickness tablets, oxygen therapy, altitude supplements, or descending to a lower altitude. We specifically deep dive into the best altitude sickness tablets to help with the symptoms of altitude sickness.
3 Best Altitude Sickness Tablets
If you are planning a trip to a high altitude destination or climb, then chances are that you will need some kind of altitude assistance. Altitude sickness can easily run your trip and cause agonizing effects on the body.
Altitude sickness tablets, or anti altitude sickness tablets, are one of the best options to take. With years of altitude research, we break down the best altitude sickness tablets in medicine backed by science.
Here's the 3 Best Altitude Sickness Tablets:
1. Dexamethasone For Altitude Sickness
Dexamethasone is a steroid that reduces inflammation throughout your body that's commonly used to treat severe allergies, arthritis, asthma and other inflammatory conditions.¹⁰
According to the CDC, Dexamethasone is shown to be effective for acute mountain sickness AMS (altitude sickness) and therefore one of the other best altitude sickness tablets.² As a steroid, it does require a doctor's prescription though.
Dexamethasone altitude sickness benefits and research:
- While it did not increase oxygenation, a study out of Japan showed Dexamethasone to reduce symptoms of altitude sickness.¹¹
- Research from the University of Alaska-Anchorage concluded that dexamethasone is an effective treatment for altitude sickness with noticeable improvement with a high enough dosage, while lower dosages were shown to be ineffective.¹²
- In a study comparing acetazolamide to dexamethasone, subjects taking dexamethasone reported less tiredness, nausea, headache, dizziness, clumsiness, and feeling more refreshed ─ overall an effective altitude sickness prevention.¹⁵
Due to the study comparing dexamethasone and acetazolamide, we conclude dexamethasone is best altitude sickness tablets out of all three listed. It was shown to have significantly better results than acetazolamide as a prevention against acute mountain sickness.
Dexamethasone dosage for altitude sickness: The studies show 4 mg every 6-8 hours while during high altitude exposure to be most effect. Consult with your doctor on what exact dosage to take.
2. Ibuprofen For Altitude Sickness (Advil, Motrin)
Ibuprofen is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that can help ease the symptoms of altitude sickness.
With swelling and inflammation triggered on the body from high altitudes, Ibuprofen helps bring relief.⁶
Further making Ibuprofen the best altitude sickness tablets is that they are over-the-counter (OTC), so you can get them anytime you need making it convenient.
Ibuprofen altitude sickness benefits and research:
- In a study of volunteers ascending the White Mountains of California to 12,570 feet high (3,810 m), Ibuprofen was found to reduce the incidence of altitude sickness.⁷
- The study showed hikers who took ibuprofen developed less incidence of altitude sickness symptoms like headache, dizziness and nausea.⁸
- While another study shows acetazolamide to be a slightly inferior prevention⁹, Dr. Grant Lipman at Stanford University School of Medicine says "Ibuprofen can prevent 26% of cases of altitude sickness".⁸
Ibuprofen appears to have great results for altitude sickness. And what's best about Ibuprofen is that as an OTC drug, you can pick it up at the drug store like Walgreens when traveling or before climbing.
Ibuprofen dosage for altitude sickness: The Stanford study showed that 600 milligrams of ibuprofen 3 times within the day of hiking gave results. The authors also say that taking more than 600 milligrams might provide better prevention.⁷ Go by doctor or medical advice though, as high doses of ibuprofen can have negative effects including gastrointestinal and kidney problems.
3. Acetazolamide For Altitude Sickness (Diamox)
Acetazolamide is an effective medication for preventing, treating, or reducing altitude sickness or acute mountain sickness (AMS). Diamox is a brand-name version of acetazolamide.
With numerous research done on acetazolamide, it is show to increase oxygenation, respiration, and high altitude acclimatization.
Acetazolamide altitude sickness benefits and research:
- According to the CDC, this medicine works by reducing respiratory alkalosis related with high elevations and acidifying the blood. Therefore it helps to increase respiration, oxygenation, and speed up acclimatization.²
- Acetazolamide has the most notoriety being a preventative measure to prevent altitude sickness. Research published in 2020 showed the use of acetazolamide to be very effective at diminishing the risk of high-altitude illness.³
- University of Kentucky Department of Medicine showed better oxygenation with acetazolamide in high altitudes and acute mountain sickness.
Acetazolamide, or Diamox, is one of the best altitude sickness tablets with the scientific research to back it up for prevention.
As a prescription medicine, it is not an OTC drug, so you'll need a doctor to prescribe you acetazolamide.
Acetazolamide (Diamox) dosage for altitude sickness: CDC recommends taking 125mg every 12 hours, for a total of 250mg a day. Start the day before encountering high altitude and continue through ascent. You must follow doctor or medical professional recommendations.
This concludes the three best altitude sickness tablets ─ which include Dexamethasone, Ibuprofen, and Acetazolamide.
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1. Oxygen Levels at Altitude
2. CDC High-Altitude Travel & Altitude Illness
3.The use of acetazolamide for the prevention of high-altitude illness
4. The effects of acetazolamide on the ventilatory response to high altitude hypoxia
6. High Altitude Got You Down? Try Ibuprofen
7. Ibuprofen decreases likelihood of altitude sickness, researchers find
8. Ibuprofen Can Prevent Altitude Sickness
9. Altitude Sickness Prevention with Ibuprofen Relative to Acetazolamide
10. Dexamethasone tablets and liquid
11. Dexamethasone in the Treatment of Acute Mountain Sickness
12. Dexamethasone for prevention and treatment of acute mountain sickness
13. Multimodal analysis of the effects of dexamethasone on high-altitude cerebral oedema: protocol for a pilot study
14. Effect of high altitude (7,620 m) exposure on glutathione and related metabolism in rats
15. A randomized trial of dexamethasone and acetazolamide for acute mountain sickness prophylaxis