High hopes at high altitudes: pharmacotherapy for acute mountain sickness and high-altitude cerebral and pulmonary oedema.Expert Opin Pharmacother. 2008 Jan; 9(1):119-27.EO
The pharmacotherapy of prevention and treatment of acute altitude- related problems - acute mountain sickness, high-altitude cerebral oedema and high-altitude pulmonary oedema - is reviewed. Drug therapy is only part of the answer to the medical problems of high altitude; prevention should include slow ascent and treatment of the more severe illnesses should include appropriate descent. Carbonic anhydrase inhibitors, in particular acetazolamide, remain the most effective drugs in preventing, to a large extent, the symptoms of acute mountain sickness, and can be used in the immediate management of the more severe forms of altitude-related illnesses. Glucocorticoids in relatively large doses are also effective preventative drugs, but at present are largely reserved for the treatment of the more severe acute mountain sickness and acute cerebral oedema. Calcium channel blockers and PDE-5 inhibitors are effective in the management of acute pulmonary oedema. Further work is required to establish the role of antioxidants and anticytokines in these syndromes.