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What Is Methazolamide?

By Jacquelyn Gilchrist
Updated May 17, 2024
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Methazolamide is a glaucoma medication that lowers intraocular pressure, which is pressure within the eye. It is a carbonic anhydrase inhibitor drug that reduces pressure by interfering with carbonic anhydrase, a protein. This protein is essential for the production of eyeball fluid. By reducing the amount of fluid produced, the intraocular pressure can be lowered to ward off complications of glaucoma, such as nerve damage and vision loss.

This drug is taken by mouth, usually two to three times per day. It should be taken with plenty of fluids to reduce the risk of complications like kidney stones. Patients may take each dose with food if stomach upset occurs. A typical total daily dosage is between 50 to 100 milligrams (mg). Even though glaucoma may not cause any symptoms in patients who do not yet have vision loss, it is essential to continue taking methazolamide every day to gain the full benefit.

While taking methazolamide, patients should use sunscreen and wear protective clothing when they are outdoors as this medicine can increase the risk of sensitivity to sunlight. Patients should also avoid or moderate their alcohol consumption.

Some side effects may occur with the use of methazolamide for glaucoma, which patients should report to the physician if they are persistent or become troublesome. Patients may notice a loss of appetite, changes in taste, or changes in vision. Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea may also occur, along with dizziness and drowsiness. Those who have gout may notice this condition worsen, while other patients may experience tremors, nervousness, or weakness. Some of these side effects may dissipate as the body adjusts to the drug.

Rarely, an allergic reaction to methazolamide may occur, which requires immediate medical help. Signs of this can include hives, problems breathing, and facial swelling, along with severe dizziness. Other rare side effects may include bloody or painful urination, dark urine, or a sudden decrease in urination. Seizures, abdominal pain, and numbness or tingling may also occur. Flu-like symptoms, such as a sore throat and a fever, may be possible signs of an infection.

Not all glaucoma patients may be able to use methazolamide to treat this condition. Those who are pregnant or breastfeeding should not take it. Patients with liver or kidney disease, heart disease, or a hormonal disease should consider other medications instead. An untreated mineral imbalance, breathing problems, and gout are other medical conditions that can preclude a person from taking methazolamide. Patients should disclose their other medications and supplements to their doctors, including aspirin, sulfa drugs, and stimulants.

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