I am looking at the things that I should have with me when I am climbing higher altitudes. I came across this meds one should always have along: Dexamethasone.

Dexamethasone is used in the treatment of high-altitude cerebral edema, as well as pulmonary edema. It is commonly carried on mountain-climbing expeditions to help climbers deal with altitude sickness.

It is available in the form of Tablets and Injectable. As this may well be a solo expedition, I might have to take the dose on my own. Yes, if there is another team around who have a medic with them, then its obvious that I'll consult him/her for that matter.

Is it always advised to get injected only from a medical professional? I know I can, but should this medicine be self-injected when needed? I have given insulin doses to my father, so I know I can inject, at least subcutaneously.

Is there a definite/solid set of instructions for doing that?

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    This question appears to be off-topic because it is about medication and self medicating which could be misleading and dangerous is someone takes the information the wrong way. – Aravona Sep 5 '14 at 7:14
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    they do not know you or your medical history, what you are allergic to, what could negatively affect your health - the information here would be incredibly personal to you and no one else. Being someone who has a medicinal allergy I just think self dosing on some drug your doctor knows little about doesn't seem right? – Aravona Sep 5 '14 at 7:15
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    I would revise the question significantly to avoid the implication of "self-prescribing". I think you can simplify to basics like "what's the difference between..." and "what's the purpose of..." sorts of questions. (No, it's not the same as Diamox, and I wouldn't suggest using it as "lightly" as Diamox is often used.) – requiem Sep 5 '14 at 7:57
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    Also the Dexamethasone is prescription only in the UK so would require seeing a doctor to get anyway - this means anyone who uses it has seen a doctor and has the right dosage for themselves. @requiem changing the question to ask the difference would still make it off topic for an outdoors website as its medication based? – Aravona Sep 5 '14 at 8:13
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    Yes, both are prescription-only in the US, but I think Diamox is used often enough in the high-altitude context to have some relevance. I agree the dosing table and instructions should be considered off-topic, and definitely for a doctor to provide. – requiem Sep 5 '14 at 8:35

You asked about dosing. My recommendation is to get a professional to figure out the dosing. If you cannot get a professional, then do not carry this as you are potentially introducing as much risk as you are mitigating.

When carrying a medication such as this for a possible emergency, there are several things I would recommend.

Get a doctor to prescribe it. - This will do the most to ensure you have the correct dosage and minimize adverse affects. I carry several prescription drugs while hiking. In my experience it is usually possible to find a doctor who is willing to prescribe medication "just in case".

Only use it for the person prescribed

Make sure you carry information on the drug in a weatherproof container. Make sure this container an be found by the rescue personnel. They need to know.

If you know you will be at risk, it is reasonable to carry solutions to said risk. However, as with any emergency gear, you must make sure that you are trained to use it, and that you have the right solution. By example, you might need stitches, but unless you know how to suture it is pointless to carry a suture kit.

Never carry gear you don't understand. It will tempt you to use it, putting yourself at greater risk.

One could make an argument that if you know someone is going to die, it is "worth a shot". I would generally recommend against this. As a layman, one is not terribly well qualified to determine that someone is "going to die". In addition, it could complicate treatment if help is on way and arrives in time.

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    If someone really "is going to die" means the professional help will be arriving too late. I (personal opinion) would indeed "give it a shot" regardless of law or anything. Think of the consequences, acting properly by not helping but still knowing you could safe the injured. I know this is an other topic and it depends very much on the country you are living in. I heard e.g. in the U.S. the law is ridiculous regarding this issue. – Wills Sep 5 '14 at 17:10
  • @EverythingRightPlace -- My point was more that non-emergency personnel don't necessarily know when someone "is going to die" and might mistake a non-fatal condition for a fatal one. I updated the answer, hope that helps :) – Russell Steen Sep 7 '14 at 14:55
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    My point wasn't about law in the slightest. It was skepticism on the ability to, as you say, "act properly". People have died as a result of people who "knew" they were going to save the injured, but were really just overconfident in their ability to determine and treat the condition/injury. My concern is not for legal ramifications, but rather for the ability (or lack thereof) of a untrained laymen in the case presented. Honestly confused as to how U.S. law got into this at all, since I mention it nowhere in my answer. – Russell Steen Sep 7 '14 at 14:59
  • @RusselSteen U.S. law was just an example and most here (like you) are from the States. Nevermind though. – Wills Sep 7 '14 at 19:15

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