Allopurinol is usually used to treat people with high uric acid levels and gout, but it can also be used for other medical conditions. Allopurinol can be purchased as a generic drug or brand-name prescription medication.
It’s available in tablet, capsule, oral solution, extended release tablet and extended release capsule forms with varying manufacturers and package sizes. Allopurinol is not available over the counter (OTC). To buy it, you must have a doctor’s prescription.
How is Allopurinol Used?
Allopurinol is typically used to treat high uric acid levels and gout. It may also be used to prevent organ transplant rejection, treat lupus, treat psoriasis and rheumatoid arthritis, and reduce the risk of blood clots.
Allopurinol works by reducing uric acid levels in the blood. High uric acid in the blood can lead to gout, kidney stones, and high blood pressure. Allopurinol is used as an alternative to uric acid-lowering medications such as probenecid and sodium benzoate.
Individuals with a history of allergic reactions, including urticaria, angioedema, and anaphylaxis, should avoid using allopurinol. Allopurinol may also be prescribed for individuals with chronic kidney disease, kidney stones, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, and lupus.
Gout is a painful form of arthritis caused by a buildup of uric acid in the body. When uric acid levels are high, the uric acid crystallizes and forms painful lumps of crystals in the joints.
Allopurinol is used to treat and prevent gout attacks by lowering uric acid levels in the blood. It does this by inhibiting xanthine oxidase, an enzyme that is involved in the metabolism of purines. Purines are substances that have a high chance of crystallizing and triggering gout attacks.
To treat gout, individuals should take 100-300 milligrams (mg) of allopurinol daily. Some individuals may require a lower dose, while others may require a higher dose.
Allergic Reactions And Conditions
Allopurinol is used to prevent allergic reactions following organ transplants and allergic reactions to blood transfusions.
It may also be used to treat lupus, psoriasis, and rheumatoid arthritis. Allopurinol is often given to individuals with these conditions to prevent the development of kidney stones and reduce the risk of hyperuricemia.
However, it should be noted that this drug has not been proven effective for treating lupus or psoriasis and may increase joint pain in individuals with rheumatoid arthritis.
Allopurinol is often given to individuals who have undergone organ transplants. It may be given to prevent gout and hyperuricemia, both of which are more likely to occur in individuals who have received a donor organ.
Allopurinol is also given to prevent hypercalcemia and the formation of kidney stones in individuals who have received transplants from donors who took lithium.
Other Uses For Allopurinol
Allopurinol may be used to treat hyperuricemia, gout, and hypercalcemia. It may also be given to individuals who are undergoing organ transplants and who have high calcium levels in the blood.
Side Effects of Allopurinol
Allopurinol may cause the following side effects:
- Skin rash – Allopurinol may cause skin rashes, including urticaria and erythema. These skin reactions may be mild and not require discontinuation of the drug. However, individuals with severe skin rashes may need to stop taking allopurinol and consult a doctor. These rashes typically go away once treatment with allopurinol has been discontinued.
- Liver damage – Allopurinol may cause liver damage, particularly in individuals with mild liver impairment. These individuals should take the lowest possible dose of allopurinol to avoid liver damage. Individuals with severe liver impairment should not take allopurinol and should consult a doctor.
- Kidney stones – Allopurinol may increase the risk of developing kidney stones in some individuals. This risk is elevated in individuals who have a history of kidney stones and have a low daily fluid intake. These individuals should increase their daily fluid intake to reduce the risk of kidney stones.
- Gout attacks – Although allopurinol is usually effective at lowering uric acid levels, some individuals may experience gout attacks while taking this drug. These individuals should discontinue taking allopurinol and consult a doctor.
- Worsened psoriasis – Some individuals who take allopurinol may experience an increase in psoriasis symptoms. These individuals should consult a doctor and discontinue taking allopurinol if symptoms worsen.
Warnings Regarding Allopurinol Usage
Allopurinol is not recommended for individuals with severe liver impairment. These individuals should consult a doctor before taking this drug.
Allopurinol is also not recommended for individuals who have a history of kidney stones. These individuals should increase their daily fluid intake to reduce the risk of developing kidney stones.
Allopurinol is not recommended for individuals who are pregnant or breastfeeding. It is also not recommended for individuals who are younger than 6 years old.
Final Words: Is Allopurinol Worth It?
Allopurinol is a drug that is used primarily to treat individuals with gout and hyperuricemia. It is also used after organ transplants to prevent the development of gout and kidney stones.
Allopurinol can help to reduce the risk of these conditions by lowering uric acid levels in the blood. While this drug may be helpful to some individuals, it does carry some side effects such as skin rashes, liver damage, and increased risk of kidney stones.
Before taking allopurinol, individuals should discuss their medical history with a doctor and consider the benefits and side effects of this drug. Allopurinol may be a helpful treatment option for gout and hyperuricemia in certain individuals.