We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Doctor told me altitude sickness tablets not needed??

Which Machu Picchu hotels are on sale?
dd/mm/yyyy dd/mm/yyyy
See hotels
Limerick, Ireland
Level Contributor
555 posts
38 reviews
Save Topic
Doctor told me altitude sickness tablets not needed??

We are going to Machu Pichu,Sacred Valley etc in a few weeks.

I asked my Doctor for a prescription for altitude sickness tablets but he said they are not recommended.He said my tour guide should go as slow or fast enough for how we feel...

First of all,every second review Ive read says to make sure to bring the tablets, and second we are not doing a tour,we are intending to do it alone,if we start to feel sick or light-headed,should we not climb any further or just lie down for a while and carry on?!

california
Level Contributor
11,773 posts
171 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Doctor told me altitude sickness tablets not needed??

Climb what?

If you experience altitude sickness that is too troublesome, you can descend in altitude (eg go down to the Sacred Valley from Cusco), take an advil or Tylenol for the headache, and ask your hotel for oxygen.

Kamloops, Canada
Level Contributor
3,883 posts
43 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Doctor told me altitude sickness tablets not needed??

Altitude tablets may not be reccomended for you which is why its good you talked to your doctor about them. You should definately take his word over anything said on a public forum such as this.

New York
Destination Expert
for Moscow
Level Contributor
3,657 posts
37 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Doctor told me altitude sickness tablets not needed??

Find another doctor?

Michigan
Destination Expert
for Peru
Level Contributor
5,312 posts
21 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Doctor told me altitude sickness tablets not needed??

I am guessing that he checked the altitude at Machu Picchu, for which medication is not needed. Did you tell him that you plan on staying in Cusco or exploring Cusco as well?

Did you tell him that you are going on your own with no tour guide? Why would he say that your "tour guide" should go slowly? Give him a call and tell him that you are going to Cusco.

Limerick, Ireland
Level Contributor
555 posts
38 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Doctor told me altitude sickness tablets not needed??

No he didnt check the altitude but I also didnt tell him I will be going to Cusco.

Is Cusco higher in altitude than say, Puerto Maldonado and where Machu Pichu is?These 3 areas and Lima will be the places I will be at in Peru.

I need to go back to the Doctor for my booster vaccination so I can try to convince him then!I know I should listen to a doctor but if 1 in 10 people suffer from altitude sickness,I am guaranteed to be that 1!

Brisbane, Australia
Level Contributor
2,755 posts
8 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Doctor told me altitude sickness tablets not needed??

Sarah Puerto Maldonada doesn't come into it as far as altiltude goes- it is only a couple of hundred metre above sea level. Cusco is higher than Machu Pichu. Are you still planning to head to Lake Titicaca as it is higher again?

Is it possible to find a doctor specialising in Travel medicine you could visit?

Edited: 07 December 2012, 23:38
Tucson, Arizona
Destination Expert
for Quito, Ecuador
Level Contributor
9,877 posts
92 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Doctor told me altitude sickness tablets not needed??

There is medical evidence that simple ibuprofen is very effective for the effects of altitude …jwatch.org/cgi/content/full/2012/622/1 . Diamox is overkill and is not without its own host of side effects. Shopping for another doctor is not the answer, nor is insisting on something you may not need--this is how we've ended up with antibiotic-resistant bacteria. I do agree that consulting with a travel specialist is a good idea for a variety of reasons.

The vast majority of people will get a headache and shortness of breath. Staying well-hydrated, avoiding alcohol, drinking coca tea, and not overdoing activities are still appropriate ways to deal with altitude.

SF
Destination Expert
for Fukuoka, Kyushu-Okinawa
Level Contributor
2,945 posts
25 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Doctor told me altitude sickness tablets not needed??

Cusco is about 12,000' and both my wife and I sure got the altitude sickness of excruciating headache at night. Once we rode the train down toward Machu Picchu, the head ache magically disappeared. Machu Picchu is about 8,000' and is like in the high altitude cruising air plane cabin pressure. Careful with coca tea on the train. I didn't drink but my wife was sick all day, perhaps from luke warm un-boiled water.

Michigan
Destination Expert
for Peru
Level Contributor
5,312 posts
21 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Doctor told me altitude sickness tablets not needed??

@azbuceadora, a study performed with 86 subjects is not "great" medical evidence. Indeed, the comments below the article on that website point out that the study seems misleading. I do not have access right now to the medical article so I cannot comment on the specific details.

There is plenty of evidence regarding the medication that you consider overkill; unfortunately not all GPs / family physicians are trained to recognize the need to prevent AMS and I think this might be the case here.

Sasolburg,South...
Level Contributor
411 posts
16 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Doctor told me altitude sickness tablets not needed??

The doctor is probably not familiar with altitude sickness and it`s dangers.It effects every person differently.

Once you are in Cusco, stay hydrated, avoid alcohol.If you feel the effects of the altitude, ask you hotel for some coca tea,most serve it with breakfast anyway.

Heinrich