Gout Medication Eases Kidney Disease Pain
(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- Treating kidney disease just got simpler. Experts say a drug used to treat gout may help maintain the health of kidney disease patients.
The research is the first to show that using allopurinol in patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) decreases inflammation and slows the progression of kidney disease as well as reduces patients' risk of experiencing cardiovascular trauma.
Allopurinol is primarily used to treat people with excess uric acid in their blood (hyperuricemia), which can lead to gout and, in extreme cases, kidney failure.
To investigate, study authors embarked on a prospective, randomized trial of 113 CKD patients who received either allopurinol or continued their standard therapy. The researchers assessed kidney disease progression, cardiovascular events, and hospitalizations among patients in the study over two years.
The blood levels of uric acid and C-reactive protein (a marker of inflammation) significantly decreased in patients treated with allopurinol. In the control group, kidney function declined after two years, but in the allopurinol-treated group, kidney function improved. Allopurinol treatment also slowed down kidney disease progression regardless of patients' age, gender, and diabetes status; their blood levels of uric acid and C-reactive protein; the amount of protein patients lost in the urine; and the other types of medications patients used.
While allopurinol has significant potential benefits for CKD patients, the study authors call for more research. "These results have to be confirmed in larger prospective trials and are the basis for a hypothesis that still needs to be tested, "authors were quoted as saying.
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SOURCE: Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, June 10, 2010