Acute mountain sickness, antacids, and ventilation during rapid, active ascent of Mount Rainier

Aviat Space Environ Med. 1983 May;54(5):397-401.


A double-blind randomized study of 45 climbers on Mt. Rainier was conducted to test the effectiveness of antacids in preventing acute mountain sickness. All 45 climbed to 3353 m, and 31 continued to the summit. Ten climbers listed acute mountain sickness as the reason for not attaining the summit. Of symptoms monitored throughout the climb, neither headache, nausea, dizziness, pounding heart, nor shortness of breath differed in severity between antacid-treated and placebo-treated groups. In both groups vital capacity decreased significantly with ascent (p less than 0.05), while peak flow (p less than 0.005) and minute ventilation (p less than 0.001) increased significantly. The 7 climbers with the most severe AMS symptom scores above 4000 m had significantly lower peak flow at sea level prior to ascent compared with the other 25 climbers who completed sea level tests (p less than 0.005). The results of this study fail to document efficacy for antacid use for the prevention of acute mountain sickness.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Altitude Sickness / prevention & control*
  • Antacids / therapeutic use*
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Headache / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Hypoxia / prevention & control*
  • Male
  • Mountaineering*
  • Nausea / prevention & control
  • Time Factors
  • Vital Capacity
  • Washington


  • Antacids