Guide To Allopurinol

Allopurinol lowers how much uric acid there is in an individual's body. This medication can be taken as an oral tablet or administered as an injection. Tablets are available in doses of one hundred milligrams, as well as three and five hundred milligrams. The starting dose for gout is often one hundred milligrams. Generally, mild cases need a maintenance dose between two to three hundred milligrams daily. Other patients, such as those who are undergoing chemotherapy, may receive this medication intravenously. A standard intravenous dose is between two to four hundred milligrams, up to a maximum of six hundred milligrams daily.

As mentioned, this is a standard gout medicine. Some patients take it as an attempt to achieve immediate gout pain relief. Of course, some individuals will take other gout inflammation medicine as an alternative to allopurinol for gout. This medication also acts as a kidney stone treatment for some patients. Some natural remedies for gout pain and kidney stones may help reduce the patient's reliance on allopurinol. Certain individuals receiving chemotherapy treatment may also require this medication. However, it is vital to understand how it works first.

How It Works 

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Allopurinol is a xanthine oxidase inhibitor. Medications in this class block the action of an enzyme called xanthine oxidase. This mechanism reduces the uric acid that the body makes. Uric acid is a product of the body's metabolism of purines. Allopurinol is also considered a structural isomer of hypoxanthine, one of the natural purines in the body. It prevents purine synthesis. The medication is metabolized by aldehyde oxidase and xanthine oxidase. It completely metabolizes to oxypurinol in two hours after patients take it orally. The kidneys then excrete oxypurinol for eighteen to thirty hours. 

Uses And Benefits 

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Allopurinol is most commonly used for the treatment of gout and kidney stones. It can help prevent future gout episodes. However, it is not intended to treat symptoms that occur during a gout attack. This medication is also routinely prescribed to reduce uric acid levels in patients undergoing certain types of chemotherapy. Doctors may consider prescribing it for seizures. It may be offered to patients with some types of infections as well.

This medication also relieves pain caused by pancreatic conditions. It can be beneficial in preventing relapses in patients with ulcers. Doctors may also prescribe this medication to kidney transplant patients, as it can help prevent rejection. It may be considered for patients who have had heart bypass operations. This is because this medication may increase survival rates after bypass surgery. 

Potential Side Effects 

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During treatment with allopurinol, patients could experience side effects. Drowsiness, skin rashes, headaches, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea are some of the most frequently reported side effects of this medication. Patients may notice an upset stomach or a change in their sense of taste. The medicine may cause liver function tests to be abnormal. Individuals who use this medication should let their doctor know if they experience severe or persistent diarrhea, drowsiness, or upset stomach. They should also contact their doctor if they develop a skin rash, including a mild one. 

Less commonly, patients may develop numbness and tingling sensations. Urinary problems may also occur in rare cases. For example, patients could have painful urination or decreased or absent urinary output. They may also see blood in their urine. Liver problems may develop during treatment. Patients should watch for unintentional weight loss, stomach pain, itching, fever, chills, and loss of appetite. They must report these symptoms should be reported to their doctor immediately. Patients should seek urgent medical attention for urinary side effects as well. 

Precautions To Remember 

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Before prescribing allopurinol, doctors need to ensure that it is safe for the patient's overall health. Patients should let their medical team know if they have any history of liver or kidney disease. They must also do this for a history of diabetes, high blood pressure, or congestive heart failure. This medication may not be safe for individuals with a history of these conditions. Additionally, patients should inform their doctor if they are currently undergoing chemotherapy before taking this medication. Individuals who are pregnant or breastfeeding will need to ask their doctor first as well. This is because it may be unsafe for them to take this medication. Patients on this medicine need to avoid alcohol consumption. Since this medication could impair reaction time and thinking, patients are advised to exercise caution while driving or doing activities that require mental alertness.

This medication could cause decreases in white blood cell counts, and this may increase the patient's risk of bleeding after an injury. Individuals with low white blood cell counts may experience more frequent infections. Doctors may recommend frequent blood tests to monitor the patient's white blood cell counts. The patient may need to have regular follow-up appointments when they are on this medication. Allopurinol can be taken with or without food. However, they should take it with a full glass of water to reduce the risk of developing kidney stones. Patients should drink sixty-four to eighty ounces of water per day. 

Potential Medication Interactions 

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Allopurinol has more than fifty potential medication interactions, including sixteen major ones. Patients should tell their doctor know about all of the medicines they take to help reduce the risk of these interactions. This includes prescriptions, over-the-counter drugs, herbal remedies, and vitamin supplements. Allopurinol can interact with certain antibiotics, including amoxicillin and ampicillin. In addition, the medication interacts with warfarin and other blood thinners. It also interacts with some chemotherapy drugs, including cyclophosphamide and mercaptopurine. 

Medication interactions could occur if this medication is taken with diuretics or certain immunosuppressants as well. Patients who use these medications should check with their doctor before starting allopurinol. They may need to have their doses adjusted. Some individuals could be prescribed a different medicine. Patients who take probenecid, sulfinpyrazone, or other gout medicines should inform their doctor that they use these medicines too.