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Product Overview

Allopurinol (generic Zyloprim)

  • What is allopurinol?
    Allopurinol (generic Zyloprim) is a prescription drug used to treat gout and kidney stones. It is also prescribed to cancer patients to treat high concentrations of uric acid in the body - a common side effect of chemotherapy. Tell your doctor if you are allergic to allopurinol or any other prescription drugs. Consult your doctor if you have kidney or liver disease or heart failure or if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.

  • What are common side effects of allopurinol?
    While adverse reactions to allopurinol are rare, some patients who take the drug may experience mild side effects including rashes, drowsiness, upset stomach, nausea, or diarrhea. You may experience a gout flare-up when starting allopurinol. Rare, more serious side effects have been known to occur. Alert your doctor or seek emergency care if you are experiencing skin rash, painful urination, blood in your urine, eye irritation, swelling of the lips or mouth, fever, sore throat, chills, loss of appetite, unexpected weight loss, and other signs of infection. This is not a complete list of side effects. To learn more about adverse effects you may experience while taking allopurinol, please visit the National Institutes of Health’s DailyMed webpage.

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Medically Reviewed By Dr. Allison Edwards, MD

Frequently asked questions about allopurinol

What is allopurinol?

Allopurinol (generic for Zyloprim) is a prescription medication that reduces uric acid concentrations in your body. Uric acid is a waste product in the blood created when the body breaks down purines. High uric acid levels can cause adverse conditions like gout and kidney stones. Allopurinol is also commonly prescribed to cancer patients, as chemotherapy often elevates uric acid levels.

Removing high levels of uric acid can help your kidneys function better. This medicine is only available with a doctor’s prescription and is taken orally, often once or twice a day. Before taking allopurinol it is important to tell your doctor if you are allergic to allopurinol or other medications, what prescription and nonprescription medicines you are taking, as well as if you have ever had liver disease, cardiovascular disease, or kidney disease, as these may affect the dosage.

What is allopurinol used to treat?

Allopurinol is often prescribed to patients with kidney stones or gout. It is also commonly prescribed to patients receiving chemotherapy for cancer treatment.

Kidney stones occur when high levels of uric acid cause crystals to form in your kidneys (most often calcium compounds). They can result in severe pain in the side and back and a burning sensation while urinating. Like kidney stones, gout is also caused when high levels of uric acid accumulate in your body, causing urate crystals to gather in your joints. This condition causes intense joint pain and inflammation. Allopurinol is also used to reduce complications associated with cancer treatment. Chemotherapy medications can increase the level of uric acid in the body, as cancer cells release uric acid when they die, placing patients at risk of developing kidney stones or gout.

Allopurinol has also been proven to slow down renal disease progression in people with chronic kidney disease. It is not however recommended to treat asymptomatic hyperuricemia.

How does allopurinol work?

Allopurinol belongs to a family of drugs known as xanthine oxidase inhibitors. These treat gout and kidney stones by reducing the amount of uric acid your body produces. Uric acid is created when your body breaks down purine, a natural substance found in the body and in certain foods. Allopurinol limits the production of uric acid without interfering with the body's natural process for breaking down purines.

What are the most common side effects of allopurinol?

While allopurinol can sometimes cause side effects, it is important to remember that doctors prescribe it because the benefits - lower uric acid levels and reduced risk of gout and kidney stones - outweigh the potential side effects.

Common side effects of allopurinol may include rashes, drowsiness, upset stomach, nausea, diarrhea, and increases in alkaline phosphatases or SGOT/SGPT. You may also experience acute attacks of gout when you begin taking allopurinol. Speak with your doctor if side effects persist or get worse.

You may be at greater risk of developing a rash if you are also taking ampicillin or amoxicillin. If a rash occurs, discontinue your use of allopurinol immediately and speak with your doctor about your symptoms. In very rare cases, hypersensitivity to allopurinol (AHS) can result in Stevens-Johnson syndrome (SJS).

This is not a complete list of side effects associated with allopurinol. To learn more about adverse reactions you may experience while taking allopurinol, please visit the National Institutes of Health’s DailyMed webpage.

How long does it take for allopurinol to work?

It takes about 1 to 3 weeks for allopurinol to lower uric acid levels back to normal. For men and postmenopausal women, serum urate levels - or the amount of uric acid in your blood - should not exceed 7 mg/dL. For premenopausal women, the upper limit on uric acid should be around 6 mg/dL.

What is the typical starting dose of allopurinol?

Dosing varies based on the severity of your condition. Your doctor will likely start you out on a low dose of allopurinol (100mg/day) and increase the dosage on a weekly basis as needed. The average dose is 200 - 300 mg per day for patients with mild gout and 400 - 600 mg per day for those with more severe cases. If you are taking this medication for gout, it is common to have an increased number of gout attacks during the first few months before you feel the full effects of allopurinol.

Allopurinol has a maximum recommended dose of 800 mg a day.

Can I get allopurinol over-the-counter?

Allopurinol is currently only available via prescription. This means the use of this drug must be authorized by a licensed health care provider.

Providers on Sesame can write a prescription – or refill an existing one – during a virtual or in-person visit. Depending on the medication, you can arrange for same-day pickup at a pharmacy near you or order the medication to be delivered to your door for just $5. Book an online consultation with a real, licensed provider on Sesame today to determine whether or not allopurinol is right for you.

Note that all prescriptions are at the discretion of your health care provider. Providers on Sesame cannot prescribe controlled substances.

Can I get allopurinol online?

Yes! Sesame offers a fully integrated prescription service, which means you can get the medication you need delivered right to your door, starting at just $5 a month.

Talk to a provider on Sesame and get your online doctor prescription or refill ordered right away for fast and convenient pickup from a pharmacy of your choice.

Note that all prescriptions are at the discretion of your clinician.

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