5 medications you should have for your Kinabalu climbing trip

Medical preparations for your trip up to Kinabalu is one of the important thing to do before you start your climb. While novice climbers think that the medication in the first aid kit is enough, some of experience climbers think that it is better to have some extra medications in hand, in case of unexpected requirements. These would be my personal list of medication (based on my medical background), that I would bring up on my trip. These are the medications that I brought during my past climbing trip.

  1. Panadol, Uphamol aka paracetamol or acetaminophen. It is a good medication to relief pain, headache, fever and discomfort due to cold/flu & following dental procedures. Normal dosage per tablet is 500mg, and I usually prescribe 2 tablets 3-4 times daily. However, in climbing context, you can take 2 tablets of paracetamol if you have muscular pain during the climb, and may repeat 6-8 hourly. You can take it either before or after meal. One special precaution on Panadol is that it can leads to kidney and liver failure if taken in long period of time, or overdosage.
  2. Ponstan, aka Mefenemic acid. A slightly “powerful” medication than paracetamol, used to relief mild to moderate pain including muscular, traumatic and dental (tooth) pain, headache, menstrual pain, post operation and post delivery pain. Also suitable for Rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. I usually use ponstan for those who feels that panadol is not powerful enough to control pain. Normal dosage per capsule is 250mg, and to be taken 500mg (2 tablets) during the pain, 8 hourly. You have to take ponstan after meal because it can cause some gastric irritation (gastrik aka ‘dugal’ in local language). Long term usage can cause stomach ulcer, kidney and liver impairment.
  3. Lomotil, Beamotil or Dhamotil. An almost a “wonder drug” for diarrhea and uncontrolled loose stool – an event spoiler for anybody. It contains diphenoxylate HCl 2.5mg and atropine sulphate 25mcg to stop your purging. A good medication to take if you have a very sensitive stomach and bowel movement. Can be taken before or after meal, but suggested to take 1 tablet after each unformed stool. If you don’t have this medication, you may have to divert every few hundreds meter of the Summit Trail into the bushes to “get the job done”.
  4. Maxolon aka metoclopramide. A medication used to relieve vomiting and nausea. Nausea that can be caused by food poisoning or even acute mountain sickness can be alleviated with this medication. To be taken 1 tablet, 10mg 8 hourly, usually before meals. I usually advise person who take maxolon to take their meal 30 minutes after ingesting maxolon. Not suitable for children.
  5. Piriton aka chlorpheniramine maleate. Another wonder drug for allergic reaction and runny nose. Scientifically put: allergic conditions including hay fever, urticaria, agioedema, vasomotor rhinitis, allergic eczema, atopic and contact dermatitis, insect bites and pruritus. Basically, it is used for anything that cause you to itch and nose congestion. It can be taken with or without food, 4mg 4-6 hourly, with maximum of 6 tablet a day. However, piriton is known to cause sleepiness and inability to concentrate, but minimal if you are climbing.

You can get almost all the medications from your nearby pharmacy. However, if you are unsure, better ask your doctor/physician to help you.

5 thoughts on “5 medications you should have for your Kinabalu climbing trip

  1. Well, it is basically the basic medications that you can easily buy over the counter from any pharmacy around. And yes, having diarrhea at high altitude is not a very good experience!
    😉

  2. wow, you have really done your study on these and next time i will just refer you to tourist from vt.just dropping by.keep up the good work of promoting the mountain. i love the mountain.

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