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Data source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allopurinol

Allopurinol is a drug used primarily to treat conditions arising from excess uric acid, most notably chronic gout. Allopurinol does not alleviate acute attacks of gout, but is useful in preventing recurrence. Allopurinol has been used in the United States since 1964.

Allopurinol is a structural isomer of hypoxanthine (a naturally occurring purine in the body) and acts to inhibit xanthine oxidase. This enzyme is responsible for the successive oxidation of hypoxanthine and xanthine resulting in the production of uric acid, the product of human purine metabolism.[1] In addition to blocking uric acid production, inhibition of xanthine oxidase causes an increase in hypoxanthine and xanthine, which are converted to closely related purine ribotides adenosine and guanosine monophosphates. Increased levels of these ribotides causes feedback inhibition of amidophosphoribosyl transferase, the first and rate-limiting enzyme of purine biosynthesis. Allopurinol therefore decreases both uric acid formation and purine synthesis.  

In addition to its use in gout, allopurinol is also commonly used as prophylaxis with chemotherapeutic treatments, which can rapidly result in very high uric acid concentrations due to widespread cell death (tumour lysis syndrome). Other established indications for allopurinol therapy include ischaemic reperfusion injury, kidney stones (urolithiasis) and protozoal infections (Leishmaniasis).

 Side effects

Side effects of allopurinol are rare, though significant when they occur.

A small percentage of people develop a rash and must discontinue this drug. The most serious adverse effect is a hypersensitivity syndrome consisting of fever, skin rash, eosinophilia, hepatitis, worsening renal function and, in some cases, allopurinol hypersensitivity syndrome. Allopurinol is one of the drugs commonly known to cause Stevens-Johnson syndrome (SJS), and Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis Syndrome (TENS) which is an adverse drug reaction.

Brand names

Allopurinol is marketed by Prometheus in the United States as Zyloprim, while in other countries it continues to be marketed by GlaxoSmithKline. Other brand names are Allohexal, Allosig, Progout, and Zyloric.