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Allopurinol

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Allopurinol - Additional Information

How LONG does it take for the medicine to be EFFECTIVE?

  • It usually takes months to notice any improvement in symptoms after starting allopurinol.
  • The frequency of gout attack may increase in the first few weeks or months after the initiation of this medication.
  • However, in the long run the use of allopurinol may prevent gout flares and/or result in the dissolution of uric acid deposits called tophi.
  • There are measures that can be taken to prevent or lessen the impact of the gout flares such as the concurrent use of low-dose colchicine or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for the first few months. You may want to ask your doctor about it.

When do I seek medical attention IMMEDIATELY?

  • As with any other medications, a very small number of patients using allopurinol may experience RARE but serious side effects. Do seek medical attention if you develop:
  • Any skin rashes as serious allergic reactions involving the skin and mucous membrane of the mouth, nose, throat and genitals have been reported. In extreme cases, extensive skin peeling and ulceration of the mucous membranes may occur. Normally, these reactions are preceded by flu-like symptoms such as fever, headache and body ache. These reactions may happen immediately after treatment or sometimes delay after a month after allopurinol is started.

Can I take other MEDICINES or SUPPLEMENTS?

  • Your doctor may prescribe pain-relieving treatments to reduce inflammation and pain quickly and to prevent gout flare during the initial treatment.
  • Always check with the doctor or pharmacist first before self-treatment with any over-the-counter medicines.
  • DO NOT take any supplements, alternative or herbal medicines without informing your doctor or pharmacist.

What special DIETARY instructions should I follow?

  • Maintain adequate hydration (2 - 3 liters of fluid a day, unless otherwise advised by your doctor).

Can I get PREGNANT or BREASTFEED?

  • Please tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding, pregnant or likely to become pregnant during the course of treatment with the medication.

In SUMMARY… what you need to know about allopurinol?

  • Take allopurinol approximately at the same time every day, unless instructed otherwise by your doctor.

  • Always come for your BLOOD TESTS on the scheduled date.

  • Beware of the SIDE EFFECTS and when to get immediate medical attention.

  • Never take medicines, supplements or herbal treatments OVER-THE-COUNTER without checking with your doctor or pharmacist first.

  • If you have further questions about Allopurinol, please call ______________________ (office number) to discuss with your doctor / pharmacist / specialty nurse (please circle as appropriate).
  • Updated on Friday, June 12, 2015
  • Article contributed by Pharmacy, Rheumatology & Immunology Singapore General Hospital

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