27 March 2012
A study involving hikers on a US mountain has found ibuprofen can reduce the incidence, and possibly the severity, of altitude-related ‘acute mountain sickness’ (AMS).
The 86 hikers were randomised to receive three doses daily of either 600mg of ibuprofen or a placebo (dummy drug), administered over two days as they transitioned to an ultimate height of 12,570 feet (approx 3830 metres) above sea level.
Less than half (43 per cent) of those taking ibuprofen reported AMS compared to 69 per cent of the group taking placebo. Severity of symptoms was also reduced in the ibuprofen group, though the result was non-significant.
“Ibuprofen could be a way to prevent AMS in a significant number of the tens of millions of people who travel to high altitudes each year,” the authors said.
Last Reviewed: 27 March 2012