Medical and sporting ethics of high altitude mountaineering: the use of drugs and supplemental oxygen
Wilderness and Environmental Medicine
Historically, mountaineers have carried the glucocorticoid dexamethasone in their first aid kits as a last resort emergency drug for the treatment of potentially fatal high altitude cerebral edema (HACE). In the past few years, it seems that this drug is gaining acceptance as a prophylaxis for acute mountain sickness rather than be limited to an emergency treatment for HACE. A recent case report described a climber on Mount Everest taking a daily cocktail of acetazolamide, dexamethasone, and nifedipine as advised by his physician for the purpose of preventing acute mountain sickness, HACE, and high altitude pulmonary edema (HAPE).1 The climber eventually had steroid toxicity and had to undergo extensive treatment.
Wagner DR. (2012). Medical and sporting ethics of high altitude mountaineering: the use of drugs and supplemental oxygen. Wilderness and Environmental Medicine. 23:205-206.