A new study through the Stanford University Clinic reports that ibuprofen, an anti-inflammatory medication that is used often as a painkiller, may prove effective at curbing the signs and symptoms of acute mountain sickness. Symptoms include headache, fatigue, dizziness, nausea, vomiting and poor appetite.
They did a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of 86 men and women, 58 men and 28 women. They traveled towards the White Mountains northeast of Bishop, Ca. The participants stayed the night at 4,110 feet and received 600 milligrams of either ibuprofen or placebo at 8 a.m. Next they headed up to 11,700 feet where these were given another dose at 2 p.m. They then hiked 3 miles up to 12,570 feet where a third dose was administered at 8 p.m. Then they spent the night around the mountain.
They found, through a questionnaire, those of the 44 participants who took ibuprofen, 19 of these (43%) came down with symptoms of altitude sickness, while 29 of them (69%) receiving placebo dropped with symptoms. The conclusion because ibuprofen reduced the incidence of altitude sickness by 26 %.
They also observed that those who took the drug experienced less severe symptoms compared to the placebo group. But, based on the press release, the reduction in severity was not statistically significant, in line with the self-reporting survey.
Researchers don´t know precisely what biological mechanisms cause altitude sickness, but some think the possible lack of oxygen causes the brain to swell with fluids. Ibuprofen is thought to reduce the soreness, due to its anti-inflammatory properties.
Other medications, for example acetazolamide and dexamethasone, are for sale to the treatment for acute mountain sickness. But, their negative effects are more severe than those of ibuprofen. Dr. Grant Lipman, author of the study, says “The security profile of ibuprofen causes it to be more appealing then dexamethasone, that has been associated with hyperglycemia, adrenal suppression, delirium, depression, insomnia and mania.”
The researchers suggest a dosage of 600 milligrams. Despite the fact that more would possibly be better prevention, you will find perils of gastrointestinal and kidney problems if somebody becomes dehydrated.
The study is published online in the Annals of Emergency Medicine.