Please sign in to post.

Alternative altitude sickness meds

I will be heading to Peru in April and am concerned about a lack of time to acclimate to elevation in Cusco, Machu Picchu, and then Lake Titicaca over two weeks. I have traveled at least a dozen times to Red Lodge, MT and then driven to the top of Beartooth Pass with no side effects at all. But it's only 11,000 feet.

My doctor originally prescribed Diamox (acetazolamide) , but I cannot take it due to a sulfa drug allergy. What is the best preventative course of action if you cannot take Diamox? Has anyone had personal experience with the alternatives?


Posted by
5484 posts

You need to consult with your doctor.

An older friend toured Machu Picchu. His doc prescribed an EPO performance enhancing drug that increases blood red cell density. These drugs have health risk which is why blood doping is banned.

  1. WHAT IS EPO? EPO is a peptide hormone that is produced naturally by the human body. EPO is released from the kidneys and acts on the bone marrow to stimulate red blood cell production.

An increase in red blood cells improves the amount of oxygen that the
blood can carry to the body’s muscles. It may also increase the body’s
capacity to buffer lactic acid.

  1. WHAT ARE THE SIDE-EFFECTS OF EPO MISUSE? While proper use of EPO has an enormous therapeutic benefit in the treatment of anaemia related to kidney disease, its misuse can lead to serious health risks for athletes who use this substance simply to gain a competitive edge. It is well known that EPO, by thickening the blood, leads to an increased risk of several deadly diseases, such as heart disease, stroke, and cerebral or pulmonary embolism. The misuse of recombinant human EPO may also lead to autoimmune diseases with serious health consequences.
Posted by
1919 posts

As already mentioned, consult your health care provider for medical advice for your own unique medical needs. I would never recommend medical advice. If your MD originally prescribed, seek his or her advice for alternative treatment.

Posted by
1919 posts

In addition to Edgar's report on EPO-- "Epo is used to treat anemia, a shortage of red blood cells. Since red blood cells carry oxygen to the tissues and organs, anemia causes symptoms such as weakness, fatigue, and shortness of breath. Epo treats this condition by imitating the action of the hormone erythropoietin, stimulating the body to produce more red blood cells. Patients who may benefit from Epo therapy include those with chronic kidney disease, those who are anemic from AIDS or from a wide variety of hematologic disorders (including multiple myeloma and myelodysplastic syndromes), and some cancer patients who are anemic from receiving chemotherapy. In selected patients, Epo may be used to reduce the need for blood transfusions in surgery."

This is all done and monitored under the care of an MD.

Posted by
16 posts

As others have said, your healthcare provider is the best person to contact regarding your concerns.

Thanks all for your replies regarding this topic. We will be locking this thread.