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Allopurinol

What Is Allopurinol (Zyloprim)?

Zyloprim is the brand name of the drug allopurinol, which is used to treat gout, high levels of uric acid in the body (often caused by certain cancers and cancer treatments), and kidney stones.

The medication may also be used to treat seizures, infections, and pain caused by pancreas disease. It is sometimes used to improve survival after bypass surgery, prevent rejection of kidney transplants, or reduce ulcer relapses.

Allopurinol is a type of medication called a xanthine oxidase inhibitor. It works by reducing the production of uric acid in the body. It comes in the form of an oral tablet.

Why is this medication prescribed?

Allopurinol is used to treat gout, high levels of uric acid in the body caused by certain cancer medications, and kidney stones. Allopurinol is in a class of medications called xanthine oxidase inhibitors. It works by reducing the production of uric acid in the body. High levels of uric acid may cause gout attacks or kidney stones. Allopurinol is used to prevent gout attacks, not to treat them once they occur.

How should I take allopurinol?

Take allopurinol exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Follow all directions on your prescription label and read all medication guides or instruction sheets. Your doctor may occasionally change your dose.

Take each dose with a full glass of water. To reduce your risk of kidney stones forming, drink 8 to 10 full glasses of fluid every day, unless your doctor tells you otherwise.

Take with food if allopurinol upsets your stomach.

You may have gout attacks more often when you first start taking allopurinol. Your doctor may recommend other gout medication to take at this time. Keep using your medication as directed and tell your doctor if your symptoms do not improve after 6 weeks of treatment.

Allopurinol Side Effects

Some less serious side effects of allopurinol may include:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Drowsiness
  • Headache
  • Muscle pain
  • Changes in sense or taste
  • Fever, sore throat, and headache with a severe blistering, peeling and red skin rash
  • Any sign of skin rash, no matter how mild
  • Nausea, upper stomach pain, itching, loss of appetite, weight loss, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice
  • Pain or bleeding when urinating
  • Urinating less frequently or not at all
  • Joint pain or flu symptoms
  • Easy bruising, unusual bleeding, or purple or red pinpoint spots under the skin

Important warnings

Severe skin rash: This drug may cause a severe, life-threatening skin rash. If you have itchiness, trouble breathing, or swelling of your face or throat, stop taking this drug and call your doctor right away.

Liver injury: This drug may cause changes in liver function test results and liver failure. This may be fatal. If you develop liver problems, your doctor may have you stop taking allopurinol.

Drowsiness: This drug can cause drowsiness. You shouldn’t drive, use machinery, or do other tasks that require alertness until you know how it affects you.

Fluid intake: You should drink at least 3.4 liters (14 cups) of fluids each day. This will help you urinate at least 2 liters (2 quarts) per day. This can help prevent uric acid crystals from forming and blocking your urine flow. Ask your doctor how to measure how much you urinate.

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