What is Allopurinol?
Allopurinol is a treatment for gout and kidney stones. It comes as a tablet which you’ll usually take on a daily basis. Because it can sometimes take a while for you to notice the effects of Allopurinol, you might be prescribed it alongside other medications that can treat your symptoms in the short term.
Gout is a form of arthritis that causes the soft tissue in your joints to become painful and inflamed. It happens when your body fails to excrete enough uric acid or urate, which is a waste product that can build up in your body.
This build up can cause small sodium urate crystals to form and cluster around the spaces between your joints. The inflammation starts when the crystals form an expanding lump, called tophi. This can impede your bone and cartilage, and can lead to lasting joint damage if it’s left untreated.
How does Allopurinol work?
Allopurinol works by slowing down the production and build-up of uric acid, and it’s the build-up of this acid on your joints that causes the symptoms of gout. Kidney stones are also caused by a buildup of uric acid, so it helps to stop this, too.
It works by reducing the amount of urates in your blood. Fewer urates mean a lower risk of sodium urate crystals forming. This same process is seen throughout the group of medicines called xanthine-oxidase inhibitors.
What doses of Allopurinol are there?
There are two doses of Allopurinol available: 100mg and 300mg. You’ll usually start off on the lower dose, and move up to the 300mg one if it’s not helping your symptoms as you’d liked.