Where’s my Viagra?

Interesting article in this month’s Outside Magazine — talks about an experiment using Viagra to deal with high altitude issues.  Check out this article on WebMD, and another one on Science Daily.

Reason I bring this up is because I’ve been concerned about AMS (Acute Mountain Sickness or Altitude Sickness) as I’m getting ready to head out to Leadville tomorrow to run 100 miles at elevations I haven’t been up to since I was there 2 years ago.  The best and most often recommended way to acclimate is to stay at altitude for a minimum of 2 weeks, but I couldn’t afford to do that unfortunately.  One common medication to help with AMS is Acetazolamide (AKA Diamox), a prescription drug, but is not recommended as a prophylaxis.  There are also adverse side-effects, and I definitely didn’t want to find out what those were during my race.

Recently, there has been some studies indicating that Ginkgo biloba extract can help prevent AMS.  Here are some articles: Everest News, Salt Lake Tribune, and Leibreich.com.

It’s recommended that users take 80-120mg for the 5 days leading up to the ascent.  Unfortunately, I only started today, so not sure if I’ll get the full benefit, if any.  At the very least, I don’t think it’ll impact me negatively, and best case, if it doesn’t prevent AMS, I’ll be able to remember very clearly how miserable I was trying to fight it.  As for Viagra…well, let’s just say that it may not be a good idea to experience its side effects either — those llamas at the Hopeless aid station did look kinda cute.

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4 comments

  1. Umm… Interesting on the Viagra… Despite not having any of the V with you – good luck this weekend!

  2. uh…alrighty then. What will they come up with next. Thanks for the info and good luck @ Leadville!

  3. Andy, so sorry on the outcome…hope to hear what plugged you and how you’re doing mentally and emotionally (yeah, physically as well). Darn!

  4. Give me a buzz when you get back in town. I’m sure we’ll have time to catch up on Friday. Crushed me to see you stop, but you had described that this was a unique race and one you didn’t necessarily yearn for.jeff

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