I’m often asked about different aspects of gout treatments. Today I answered a question about allopurinol side effects. “Does allopurinol taken for gout contribute to liver damage?”, asked a reader from the USA.
Most people tolerate allopurinol well, but up to 20% can have adverse reactions.
The most serious reactions can involve liver problems. These are thought to be reversible – i.e. affected the liver recovers after allopurinol is stopped.
Reactions are usually preceded by severe itching and/or rashes. If you show these symptoms you must stop taking allopurinol immediately and consult your doctor.
Regular blood tests, including liver function tests, are an important part of allopurinol treatment. Not only will they give early warning of allopurinol side-effects, but they will also ensure that the correct dosage is being taken.
If complications occur, from reactions to treatment, from unusual blood test results, or from failure to reach safe uric acid levels (maximum 5mg/dL), treatment should be managed by a rheumatologist. There is a global listing of rheumatologists that will help you find a suitable specialist wherever you live (search for find a rheumatologist in the search box near the top and bottom of every page).
I’m always adding new information about allopurinol. You can keep up-to-date with this by subscribing to the free update service. Occasionally I will update allopurinol summaries on my main website.