My friends are trying to get me to take dexamethasone whenever we climb above 14,000 feet (4270 meters). They say it makes them feel great and perform better. What do you think ?

Some people feel dexamethasone, a steroid, is a wonder drug. The controlled, double-blind studies did not show it to be so wonderful. It does prevent AMS but does not aid acclimatization, as Acetazolamide does. Acetazolamide both prevents and treats AMS. Steroids can cause euphoria or depression. In addition, if your pills were to get lost or avalanched off, you would be in dire straits. The side effect profile does not warrant even thinking of using this drug routinely. Competitive athletes are disqualified for using this pharmacologic agent; should climbers be any different ?

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