Uloric vs Allopurinol

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For patients with gout or high levels of uric acid in the body, there are certain drugs that decrease the production of uric acid and can help manage symptoms. Uloric and Allopurinol are two such medications commonly prescribed for these conditions. They each impact different enzymes involved in purine metabolism, but both have significant effects on lowering uric acid concentrations in the body.

Uloric (febuxostat) inhibits an enzyme called xanthine oxidase which is responsible for conversion of hypoxanthine to xanthine and then to uric acid. By blocking this enzyme's action, febuxostat reduces the amount of uric acid made by the body.

On the other hand, Allopurinol also works as a xanthine oxidase inhibitor but has a slightly different mechanism of action than febuxostat due to its ability to be metabolized into oxypurinol which continues inhibiting xanthine oxidase activity even longer. This makes allopurinol effective at reducing levels of serum urate over time.

What is Uloric?

Febuxostat (the generic name for Uloric) is a newer medication within the class of medications known as xanthine oxidase inhibitors, which were developed to manage gout. Febuxostat was first approved by the FDA in 2009. Uloric works by reducing levels of uric acid in the blood, thereby preventing its crystallization and deposition in joints which can lead to painful gout attacks. It's prescribed for chronic management of hyperuricemia in patients with gout.

Allopurinol has been used for similar purposes since its introduction in 1966, making it an older but tested option compared to Uloric. Both drugs have proven effective at lowering urate levels; however, they differ somewhat when it comes to side effects and dosing regimens. Allopurinol interacts more with other drugs than febuxostat does due to its longer presence on the market and broader patient population exposure over time.

It should be noted that both medications must be taken continuously even during acute gout flares or risk worsening these episodes from abrupt changes in serum urate levels. Always consult your healthcare provider before starting or stopping any new treatment regimen.

What conditions is Uloric approved to treat?

Uloric and Allopurinol are both approved for the treatment of hyperuricemia (excess uric acid in the blood) in patients with gout:

  • Uloric is used to reduce serum urate levels, especially when allopurinol has not been effective.
  • Allopurinol is often prescribed as a first-line medication to prevent gout attacks by reducing urate production. It can also be used in combination with other drugs, like colchicine or probenecid.

How does Uloric help with these illnesses?

Uloric aids in the management of gout, a painful form of arthritis, by reducing the amount of uric acid available in the body. It does this by inhibiting an enzyme known as xanthine oxidase, which is involved in producing uric acid. Uric acid is a waste product that's usually processed and eliminated through urine but when its levels become too high, it can crystallize and accumulate in joints causing inflammation and severe pain characteristic to gout attacks. Therefore, by lowering uric acid levels with Uloric, patients can manage their condition and mitigate painful symptoms.

On the other hand, Allopurinol also works as a xanthine oxidase inhibitor thus helping lower uric acid levels to prevent gout flares. However, while both medications are effective for controlling gout over time, they may have different side effects profiles or interactions that must be considered individually for each patient based on their overall health status.

What is Allopurinol?

Allopurinol is a medication that has been used for many years in the treatment of chronic gout, an inflammatory arthritis caused by high levels of uric acid. It works as a xanthine oxidase inhibitor, meaning it reduces the production of uric acid in the body. Allopurinol was first approved by the FDA in 1966.

As Allopurinol does not directly treat acute gout attacks or pain, its function differs significantly from non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Its main purpose is to prevent future gout flares by reducing serum uric acid levels. While common side effects can include skin rashes and upset stomach, serious adverse reactions are rare. This makes allopurinol generally well-tolerated and beneficial for long-term management of hyperuricemia and prevention of recurrent gout attacks - especially helpful for patients who suffer from frequent gouts despite lifestyle modifications.

What conditions is Allopurinol approved to treat?

Allopurinol is a widely prescribed medication approved for the management of:

  • Gout, a type of arthritis caused by too much uric acid in the body
  • Certain types of kidney stones related to high levels of uric acid
  • Elevated serum and urine uric acid levels which occur during cancer therapy when tumor cells break down rapidly

How does Allopurinol help with these illnesses?

Allopurinol is a medication that works by reducing the production of uric acid, a compound involved in gout attacks and certain types of kidney stones. It's an enzyme inhibitor that decreases the levels of this chemical in the body, thereby preventing painful flare-ups and complications associated with high uric acid levels. Allopurinol’s action on xanthine oxidase - an enzyme responsible for converting purines into uric acid - plays a significant role in its effectiveness as a treatment for gout and certain types of kidney stones. It has been prescribed widely due to its efficacy and cost-effectiveness compared to newer medications like Uloric (febuxostat). However, while both drugs serve similar purposes, allopurinol may be better tolerated or preferred by those who have co-existing kidney disease or transplants.

How effective are both Uloric and Allopurinol?

Both febuxostat (Uloric) and allopurinol have established histories of success in treating patients with gout, a form of arthritis caused by excess uric acid in the bloodstream. Allopurinol was first approved by the FDA over 50 years ago, while febuxostat received approval more recently in 2009. Both drugs act on xanthine oxidase, an enzyme involved in the production of uric acid, but they do so through slightly different mechanisms.

The effectiveness of both febuxostat and allopurinol has been compared directly in several studies; notably, one large study from 2005 found that higher doses of febuxostat were more effective than commonly prescribed doses of allopurinol at reducing serum urate levels to below 6 mg/dL.[1] However, this same study also noted that adverse event rates were similar between all groups receiving either drug.

A review from 2013 concluded that both medications are generally well-tolerated and effective for long-term management of hyperuricemia (excess urate) associated with gout.[2] Notably however it emphasized that allopurinol remains much more widely used due to its substantially longer history as well as lower cost. Furthermore, despite being less potent at lowering serum urate level than high-dose febuxostat according to some measures[3], its side effect profile is typically milder overall due to dose-dependent effects.

In contrast with fluoxetine above which was the first SSRI developed and thus most studied antidepressant drug globally today: although newer on market than Allopurinol , Uloric may be a better option for those who have not responded favorably or exhibit allergies towards Allopurniol treatment.

[1] Becker MA et.al., Febuxostat Compared with Allopurinol in Patients with Hyperurecimia and Gout", New England Journal Medicine , Decemeber (2005) [2] Khanna D et.al., American College Rheumatology Guideline Management Gout Part I : Systematic Nonpharmacologic Pharmacologic Therapeutic Approaches Acute Gouty Arthritis " Arthritis Care Research vol .65 no .10 p .1431-1446. [3] Schumacher HR Jr.et.al., Efects Febuboxast Versus Apllopruniolo Early Gou Signs – Post Hoc Analysis Three Randomized Controlled Trials" Clinical rheumatology vol.31 no.7 p.1061-8

abstract image of a researcher studying a bottle of drug.

At what dose is Uloric typically prescribed?

Oral dosages of Uloric range from 40-80 mg/day, but studies have indicated that 40 mg/day is sufficient for treating gout in most people. If serum uric acid levels are not lowered sufficiently with a 40 mg dose, the dosage may be increased by your healthcare provider to the maximum of 80 mg/day. On the other hand, Allopurinol doses typically start at around 100 mg per day and can go up to a maximum dose of around 800mg per day for severe cases. The dosage is usually adjusted based on patient's response and tolerability. In either case, always follow your doctor's instructions regarding medication usage and never exceed the recommended daily dosage without medical supervision.

At what dose is Allopurinol typically prescribed?

Allopurinol therapy typically commences at a dosage of 100 mg/day, which can then be escalated to 300 mg/day, given in one dose or divided into two doses spaced twelve hours apart. If the desired response is not achieved after several weeks at this dosage, the daily intake may be increased up to a maximum dosage of 800 mg/day divided into three doses and spaced eight hours apart. However, it's crucial to note that any increase should be done cautiously under close medical supervision due to potential severe side effects. Allopurinol is also taken for long-term maintenance rather than immediate symptom relief.

What are the most common side effects for Uloric?

Common side effects of Uloric (febuxostat) include:

  • Liver function abnormalities
  • Nausea
  • Joint pain or stiffness (arthralgia)
  • Rash
  • Increased cardiovascular events

Meanwhile, Allopurinol may cause the following reactions:

  • Skin rash (which can be severe and requires immediate medical attention)
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Changes in your liver function tests or kidney function tests
  • Drowsiness

It's essential to discuss these potential side effects with your healthcare provider before starting either medication. Remember, everyone reacts differently to medications so not every person will experience all listed side effects.

abstract image of a patient experiencing side effect

Are there any potential serious side effects for Uloric?

Although Uloric is generally well-tolerated, in rare instances, it can cause severe side effects which include:

  • Serious Skin Reactions: Rash, hives or redness of the skin; swelling of the face, lips, tongue and/or throat that may cause difficulty in breathing or swallowing
  • Heart Disease: Chest pain or pressure; shortness of breath; upper body discomfort spreading to the arms, back, neck or jaw; sudden numbness or weakness especially on one side of the body
  • Liver Issues: Nausea/vomiting that doesn't stop; loss of appetite/persistent nausea; stomach/abdominal pain (especially if it's located on your right below your ribs); yellowing eyes/skin
  • Stroke Symptoms: Sudden severe headache with no known cause; paralysis/numbness in the face/arm/leg (particularly if it occurs only on one side); trouble speaking/swallowing.

If you experience any such symptoms while using Uloric for gout management you should seek medical assistance immediately.

What are the most common side effects for Allopurinol?

Allopurinol, a medication often used to manage gout and kidney stones, may cause some side effects such as:

  • Rashes or changes in your skin color
  • Nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Drowsiness or light-headedness
  • Changes in your sense of taste
  • Frequent urination
  • Feeling of discomfort/weakness/unusual fatigue
    Please remember that while these are potential side effects, they do not occur in everyone. It's crucial to discuss any concerns with your healthcare provider before starting the treatment.

Are there any potential serious side effects for Allopurinol?

While Allopurinol is often prescribed for gout and certain types of kidney stones, it's important to be aware of potential serious side effects. These may include:

  • Signs of allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing, swelling in your face or throat
  • Severe skin reactions: fever, sore throat, burning eyes, skin pain followed by a red or purple rash that spreads (especially in the face or upper body) which can lead to blistering and peeling
  • Liver problems: nausea, upper stomach pain, itching, tiredness loss of appetite, dark urine clay-colored stools jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes)
  • Blood disorders: easy bruising unusual bleeding nosebleeds mouth sores pale skin feeling light-headed or short breath rapid heart rate trouble concentrating
  • Kidney problems: little or no urination painful difficult urination swelling feet ankles tiredness short breath

If you experience any such symptoms while taking allopurinol it is essential that you stop its use immediately and contact your healthcare provider.

Contraindications for Uloric and Allopurinol?

Both Uloric and Allopurinol, like most medications for gout, can potentially worsen symptoms in some individuals. If you notice your gout attacks becoming more frequent or severe, please consult with your healthcare provider immediately.

Neither Uloric nor Allopurinol should be taken if you are taking certain types of diuretics or immunosuppressants without discussing it first with your physician. These drugs may require careful monitoring or dosage adjustments to prevent harmful interactions with Uloric and Allopurinol.

It is also important to note that both these medications work by reducing uric acid levels but they do not provide immediate relief from a gout attack. Therefore, during a gout flare-up, other treatments such as NSAIDs (Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs) may be needed for symptom control while continuing the use of either allopurinol or uloric to manage urate levels over the long term.

Always communicate all medications you're currently on to your doctor before starting treatment with either Uloric or Allopurinol. This includes prescription drugs, over-the-counter products and any dietary supplements as well as herbal remedies since various substances could interact negatively with these medicines.

How much do Uloric and Allopurinol cost?

For the brand name versions of these drugs:

  • The price for 30 tablets of Uloric (40 mg) averages around $345, which equates to roughly $11.50/day.
  • Conversely, a 30-tablet pack of Allopurinol (300 mg) typically costs about $43, working out to approximately $1.43/day.

Thus, if you are in need of long-term gout management and cost is a significant factor for you, then brand-name Allopurinol may be less expensive on a per-day treatment basis. However, as always remember that cost should not be your primary consideration in determining which medication is right for you.

When it comes to generic versions:

  • Febuxostat (generic form of Uloric), available in packs ranging from 30 tablets and above has an approximate daily cost between $2.80 - $3 based on typical dosages.
  • Generic Allopurinol also available in packs starting from 15 up to several hundreds can start as low as about $.10/day and usually do not exceed $.50/day depending on the dosage requirement.

In conclusion, both branded and generic forms of Allopurinol tend to be cheaper than their Uloric/Febuxostat counterparts respectively but choosing between them should primarily depend upon medical advice considering health condition rather than just the price difference alone.

Popularity of Uloric and Allopurinol

Febuxostat, available under the brand name Uloric, was estimated to be prescribed to approximately 1.2 million patients in the US in 2020. Febuxostat accounted for about 15% of all gout prescriptions in the country. It is typically used as a second-line treatment when allopurinol is not well-tolerated or contraindicated due to its potential heart risks.

Allopurinol, on the other hand, has been a mainstay of gout management and was prescribed to roughly 6.5 million people in the USA during that same year. Allopurinol represents nearly half (50%) of all gout medication prescriptions and continues to hold steady with this trend over recent years given its effectiveness and cost-effectiveness profile.


Both Uloric (febuxostat) and Allopurinol have long-standing records of usage in patients with gout, supported by numerous clinical studies indicating that they are effective treatments for reducing uric acid levels. In some cases, these drugs can be used together if a patient's symptoms are not sufficiently controlled by one drug alone. However, this should be done under careful consideration by a healthcare professional due to potential interactions.

Uloric works differently than allopurinol; it inhibits the enzyme xanthine oxidase more selectively, which is responsible for the production of uric acid. On the other hand, Allopurinol is less selective but has been traditionally considered a first-line treatment option for controlling hyperuricemia in gout patients.

Both drugs come in generic form representing significant cost savings especially for patients who must pay out of pocket. Both Uloric and Allopurinol may require an adjustment period as decreasing urate levels too rapidly can trigger a gout flare.

The side effect profile between the two medications varies: both being generally well-tolerated; however, Febuxostat carries black box warnings related to cardiovascular death while allopurinol may cause hypersensitivity syndrome though rare. For both drugs, patients must closely monitor their symptoms and should seek medical help immediately if they experience severe side effects or worsening condition.