Safety and Tolerability of Acetazolamide in the Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension Treatment Trial

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To examine the tolerability and adverse events reported in the Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension Treatment Trial (IIHTT).


Randomized, double-masked, placebo-controlled clinical trial. Trial participants (n = 165) with mild visual loss concurrently receiving low-sodium weight-reduction diet plus the maximally tolerated dosage of acetazolamide (up to 4 g/d) or placebo for 6 months. Main outcomes measures: adverse events (AEs), assessment of clinical and laboratory findings at study visits.


Thirty-eight of 86 participants randomized to the acetazolamide group (44.1%) tolerated the maximum allowed dosage of 4 g/d. The average time to achieve maximum study dosage in the acetazolamide group was 13 weeks (median 12 weeks; range 10–24 weeks). A total of 676 AEs (acetazolamide, n = 480; placebo, n = 196) and 9 serious AEs (acetazolamide, n = 6; placebo, n = 3) were reported. Notably, the percentages of participants reporting at least 1 AE in the nervous, gastrointestinal, metabolic, and renal organ systems were significantly higher in the acetazolamide group (P < 0.05). The odds of paresthesia (OR 9.82; 95% CI 3.87–27.82), dysgeusia (OR ∞; 95% CI 3.99–∞), vomiting and diarrhea (OR 4.11; 95% CI 1.04–23.41), nausea (OR 2.99; 95% CI 1.26–7.49) and fatigue (OR 16.48; 95% CI 2.39–702.40) were higher in the acetazolamide group than in the placebo group.


Acetazolamide appears to have an acceptable safety profile at dosages up to 4 g/d in the treatment of idiopathic intracranial hypertension. The majority of participants in the Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension Treatment Trial were able to tolerate acetazolamide above 1 g/d for 6 months.

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