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Supportive Care

Brand names:

Aloprim®, Zyloprim®

Other names:

Allopurinol sodium

Often used for:

treating high levels of uric acid in the blood (hyperuricemia)

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About allopurinol

Allopurinol is given to decrease uric acid in the blood. High levels of uric acid in the blood may be caused by certain cancer medicines. Too much uric acid may cause gout attacks or kidney stones. Patients receiving anticancer therapy that results in tumor lysis syndrome sometimes require allopurinol. This medicine may be given in the clinic, hospital, or at home.

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May be taken as a tablet by mouth

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May be given as a liquid into a vein by IV

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May be taken as a liquid by mouth

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Possible side effects

  • Skin irritation, rash
  • Drowsiness
  • Headache
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Flu-like symptoms (chills, aches, fever)
  • Joint or muscle pain
  • Sudden decrease in amount of urine, pain when urinating, blood in urine
  • Trouble breathing
  • Yellow skin or eyes
  • Diarrhea

Not all patients who take allopurinol will experience these side effects. Common side effects are in bold, but there may be others. Please report all suspected side effects to your doctor or pharmacist.

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Tips for families

Be sure to discuss these and other recommendations with your doctor or pharmacist.

  • If patients are receiving IV allopurinol and have pain or irritation at the injection site, they should report it right away to the care team.
  • While taking allopurinol, it is important to drink plenty of fluids. Patients should follow the care team’s instructions for appropriate fluid intake. Families should keep a record of how much the patient drinks and how often the patient urinates while receiving allopurinol.
  • Patients should not take antacids (such as ranitidine) while taking allopurinol, unless recommended by a doctor. 
  • Patients should tell their doctor if they are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Allopurinol at home:

  • Take allopurinol with a meal or right after a meal to reduce nausea and vomiting.
  • Store allopurinol tablets at room temperature. Protect from light.
  • Store allopurinol liquid at room temperature or in the refrigerator. Shake liquid well before use. 
  • Give a missed dose as soon as possible. If it is near the time of the next dose (within 4 hours), skip the dose. Do not give 2 doses at the same time.
  • Follow instructions for safe storage and disposal. 
  • Do not use the medicine past the expiration date.