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Drugs

Side Effects
Serious

Anemia or other blood or bone marrow disorders that may produce fatigue, bleeding, or bruising; yellowish tinge to eyes or skin (signifying hepatitis or liver damage); severe skin reactions (marked by rashes, skin ulcers, hives, intense itching); chest tightness; weakness. Call your doctor right away if such symptoms arise.
Common

Mild rash, drowsiness, nausea, diarrhea. The frequency of gout attacks may increase during the first weeks of use.
Less Common

Headache, abdominal pain, boils on face, chills or fever, vomiting, hair loss.
Allopurinol


Drug Class:
Antigout drug

Available OTC?: No

Available Generic?: Yes

Generic 300 mg
(PAR)

Available In
Why Prescribed
How It Works
Range and Frequency
Onset of Effect
Duration of Action
Dietary Advice
Storage
Missed Dose
Stopping the Drug
Prolonged Use
Over 60
Driving and Hazardous Work
Alcohol
Pregnancy
Breast Feeding
Infants and Children
Overdose Symptoms
What to Do
Drug Interactions
Food Interactions
Disease Interactions



Available In
Tablets

Why Prescribed
To treat chronic gout or excessive uric acid buildup caused by kidney disorders, cancer, or the use of chemotherapy drugs for cancer. Also prescribed to prevent recurrence of uric acid kidney stones. Allopurinol should not be used for treating acute gout attacks in progress.

How It Works
Allopurinol blocks the enzyme xanthine oxidase, which is required for the production of uric acid, thus reducing blood levels of uric acid.

Range and Frequency
Adults: Initially 100 mg per day, increased by 100 mg per week to a maximum of 800 mg per day. 100 mg doses are administered once a day; doses of 300 mg or more are taken in two or three evenly divided portions throughout the day. Children ages six to 10: 300 mg per day for certain types of cancer. Children age six and under: 50 mg per day in three evenly divided portions.

Onset of Effect
Reduces uric acid levels in two to three days; may take six months for full effect to occur.

Duration of Action
one to two weeks.

Dietary Advice
Take it with food or milk to avoid stomach irritation. Drink 10 to 12 glasses (8 oz each) of water a day.

Storage
Store in a tightly sealed container away from heat and direct light.

Missed Dose
Take it as soon as you remember. However, if it is near the time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and resume your regular dosage schedule. Do not double the next dose.

Stopping the Drug
Take allopurinol as prescribed for the full treatment period, even if you begin to feel better before the scheduled end of therapy.

Prolonged Use
Consult your doctor about the need for tests of liver function, kidney function, blood counts, and blood and urine levels of uric acid.

Over 60
Adverse reactions may be more likely and more severe in older patients.

Driving and Hazardous Work
Allopurinol may cause drowsiness. If possible, avoid driving and hazardous work.

Alcohol
No special precautions are necessary.

Pregnancy
Caution is advised; consult your doctor about whether the benefits outweigh potential risks to the unborn child.

Breast Feeding
Allopurinol passes into breast milk; avoid or discontinue use while nursing.

Infants and Children
Follow your doctor's instructions carefully for children.

Overdose Symptoms
No specific symptoms have been reported.

What to Do
An overdose of allopurinol is unlikely to be life-threatening. However, if someone takes a much larger dose than prescribed, contact your doctor, poison control center, or local emergency room for instructions.

Drug Interactions
Consult your doctor for specific advice if you are taking an antibiotic (such as amoxicillin, ampicillin, or bacampicillin), an anticoagulant (warfarin, dicumarol), an anticancer (chemotherapy) drug, chlorpropamide, a diuretic, or theophylline.

Food Interactions
None are likely, but a low-purine diet is recommended to reduce the risk of gout attacks. Foods high in purines include anchovies, sardines, legumes, poultry, sweetbreads, liver, kidneys, and other organ meats.

Disease Interactions
Caution is advised when taking allopurinol. Consult your doctor if you have high blood pressure, diabetes mellitus, kidney disease, or impaired iron metabolism.

Date Published: 04/13/2005
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