Inappropriate Dexamethasone Use by a Trekker in Nepal: A Case Report

We present a case of inappropriate dexamethasone use in a trekker in the Everest region of Nepal. We aim to increase awareness among health professionals of the possible use of this medication by trekkers and promote knowledge of potential complications. In this case, a previously altitude-naive trekker was prescribed prophylactic dexamethasone by physicians in a Western travel clinic before high-altitude trekking in Nepal. There were no indications for prophylactic medication nor for the use of dexamethasone. The trekker reported that no discussion regarding risks and benefits, alternatives, side effects, contraindications, or dose tapering on completion of the course had occurred before travel. Side effects were temporary, but serious complications may have ensued if it not for timely interventions by doctors at the International Porter Protection Group rescue post. The events leading to inappropriate dexamethasone use in this case cannot be known for certain. However, it is clear that the trekker lacked the knowledge to use the medication safely. Although the efficacy of dexamethasone in the prevention of acute mountain sickness is undisputed, associated side effects and other limitations make acetazolamide the prophylactic drug of choice. Inappropriate use of dexamethasone can lead to severe complications, and such a case has been reported from Mount Everest. Clinicians prescribing dexamethasone must understand the indications and risks, and health professionals at altitu...
Source: Wilderness and Environmental Medicine - Category: Environmental Health Source Type: research

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