Acetazolamide is used as a diuretic in the treatment of edematous conditions due to heart failure, with particular effectiveness in improving the pulmonary edema and related dyspnea. It acts at the level of convoluted tubule proximal to the nephrons by inhibiting an enzyme expressed by these cells known by the name of carbonic anhydrase. The inhibitory action of acetazolamide on carbonic anhydrase indirectly prevents the reabsorption of bicarbonate and sodium, increasing the urinary excretion and diuresis.
What is Acetazolamidide?
Acetazolamide is used as a diuretic in the treatment of edematous conditions due to heart failure, particularly effective in improving lung edema and related dyspnea. Moreover, it is also used to treat epilepsy, especially in younger patients suffering from less aggressive forms, mountain sickness and glaucoma: in this last case it is in fact able to reduce intraocular pressure, which is one of the underlying causes of this pathology.
How should Acetazolamide be taken?
The Acetazolamide is marketed in Italy in the form of tablets or capsules to be taken orally.
Side effects associated with Acetazolamide
In general, the administration of Acetazolamide may involve drowsiness and confusion, and alter the normal and reactive perceptual qualities of the patient by altering the driving capabilities and the ability to use dangerous machinery.
The treatment based on Acetazolamide, especially if prolonged in time or wrongly dosed, it could result in an alteration of electrolyte balance and acid-base, resulting in hyponatremia, hypokalemia and metabolic acidosis.
Particular attention should be paid when administering this active ingredient to people with diabetes, with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and emphysema, since a possible acidosis may contribute to the onset of tachypnea, drowsiness and, in severe cases, coma.
Contraindications and warnings associated with the use of Acetazolamide
Experimental data regarding the use of acetazolamide in pregnancy suggest avoiding use during the first trimester and to take it in the next two trimesters only if its use is unavoidable. During treatment of acetazolamide, a small part of the active ingredient is secreted in breast milk; therefore, it is recommended to avoid breast-feeding while undergoing acetazolamide therapy.