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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 this medicine be used?
Allopurinol comes as a tablet to take by mouth. It is usually taken once or twice a day, preferably after a meal. To help you remember to take allopurinol, take it around the same time every day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take allopurinol exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
Your doctor will probably start you on a low dose of allopurinol and gradually increase your dose, not more than once a week.
It may take several months or longer before you feel the full benefit of allopurinol. Allopurinol may increase the number of gout attacks during the first few months that you take it, although it will eventually prevent attacks. Your doctor may prescribe another medication such as colchicine to prevent gout attacks for the first few months you take allopurinol. Continue to take allopurinol even if you feel well. Do not stop taking allopurinol without talking to your doctor.
Other uses for this medicine
Allopurinol is also sometimes used to treat seizures, pain caused by pancreas disease, and certain infections. It is also sometimes used to improve survival after bypass surgery, to reduce ulcer relapses, and to prevent rejection of kidney transplants. Talk to your doctor about the possible risks of using this medication for your condition.