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Blood thinner medication, acetazolamide, dexamethasone for altitude sickness. Blood thinners to be discontinued ?

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My husband is on blood thinner medication since he had a stent put into his carotid artery 7 years ago. He is 68 years old and very fit. We are now planning a trip to Tibet at an average height of 16,000 feet involving 3 days of walking and crossing a pass at 18,500 feet. Ofcourse we would be carrying acetazolamide and dexamethasone to reverse the effects of altitude sickness. Are these medicines allowed with blood thinners or should the thinners be discontinued for the 15 days of the trip. Thank you.
Posted Fri, 4 May 2012 in Medicines and Side Effects
Answered by Dr. Rakhi Tayal 1 hour later

Thanks for your query.

When your husband is continuously on blood thinner medications for last 7 years, it is harmful to stop medications abruptly. It might lead to abnormal clot formations in his arteries which might get lodged in different places creating complications.

Regarding the altitude sickness, both acetazolamide and dexamethasone can be safely taken with blood thinners.

Other ways to prevent altitude sickness are-
1. Ascending slowly is the best way to avoid altitude sickness.
2. Avoiding strenuous activity such as skiing, hiking, etc. in the first 24 hours at high altitude reduces the symptoms.
3. As alcohol tends to cause dehydration, which exacerbates altitude sickness, avoiding alcohol consumption in the first 24-hours at a higher altitude is optimal.
4. Stay at base camp for one day for slow acclimatization.

Hope I have answered your query. I will be available if you have any further queries.

Wish you a safe journey


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