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How do I take allopurinol and how long does it take to work?

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Allopurinol is taken in tablet form once daily, preferably after food. The tablet should be swallowed with water.

Your doctor will advise you about the correct dose. Usually you’ll start with between 100 mg and 300 mg daily but your doctor will take regular blood tests and may increase the dose (up to 900 mg daily) if your urate level isn't coming down far enough for the urate crystals to dissolve.

If you have kidney or liver disease then you may need a lower dose.

Your doctor may advise you not to start taking allopurinol until after an acute attack of gout has completely settled. If this isn’t possible so the treatment may be started while the attack is in a mild phase.

Once your urate levels are low and steady, you'll have further checks every few months to make sure the urate isn't starting to build up again.

Allopurinol isn't a treatment fo acute attacks of gout and is generally needed for life. It's important to keep taking allopurinol (unless you have severe side-effects):

  • even if it doesn't seem to be working at first
  • even if you have more attacks of gout when you first start allopurinol
  • even when you stop having attacks of gout – otherwise urate levels may start to build up again and your symptoms may come back.

How long does allopurinol take to work?

Allopurinol lowers the level of urate in the blood within a few weeks. However, urate crystals in the tissues dissolve very slowly and so acute attacks may still occur. Acute attacks of gout will usually stop during the first year of treatment with allopurinol.

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