- Febuxostat is taken to prevent gout. Other medicines will be prescribed for you to take during a gout attack.
- Take febuxostat once each day.
- There have been rare reports of febuxostat causing serious allergic reactions such as swelling around the face, difficulties breathing, and skin rashes. In most cases, these reactions occurred during the first month. If you experience any of these symptoms, stop taking febuxostat and contact your doctor straightaway.
|Type of medicine ||Xanthine-oxidase inhibitor |
|Used for ||To prevent attacks of gout |
|Also called ||Adenuric® |
|Available as ||Tablets |
Gout causes attacks of painful inflammation in one or more of your joints. It is caused by a build-up of a naturally-occurring chemical in your blood, called uric acid (urate). From time to time the level of uric acid in your blood may become too high and tiny grit-like crystals may form, which typically collect in your joints and tendons. The crystals irritate the tissues of the joint to cause inflammation, swelling, and pain. Your doctor will have prescribed another medicine (such as an anti-inflammatory painkiller or colchicine) for you to take during a gout attack.
If you have had a number of gout attacks, your doctor may prescribe a medicine known as a xanthine-oxidase inhibitor to help to prevent attacks from occurring. There are two of these types of medicines currently available - allopurinol and febuxostat. You will have been prescribed febuxostat if allopurinol is unsuitable for you. Febuxostat works by reducing the levels of uric acid in your blood, which helps to prevent attacks from occurring. However, it does not have any painkilling effect during a gout attack, so you must also take an anti-inflammatory painkiller or colchicine during an attack.
Before taking febuxostat
Some medicines are not suitable for people with certain conditions, and sometimes a medicine may only be used if extra care is taken. For these reasons, before you start taking febuxostat it is important that your doctor or pharmacist knows:
- If you are pregnant, trying for a baby or breast-feeding.
- If you have any problems with your heart, such as heart disease or heart failure.
- If you have any problems with your thyroid, liver or kidneys.
- If you have ever had an organ transplant. (This is because there is no experience of febuxostat in transplant patients.)
- If you are taking or using any other medicines. This includes any medicines you are taking which are available to buy without a prescription, such as herbal and complementary medicines.
- If you have ever had an allergic reaction to any medicine.
How to take febuxostat
- Before you start this treatment, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from inside your pack. The leaflet will give you more information about febuxostat, and a full list of possible side-effects from taking it.
- Take febuxostat exactly as your doctor has told you. It is taken once each day. Your dose will also be on the label of the pack.
- When starting this treatment, your doctor will give you 80 mg strength tablets. These may then be increased after 2-4 weeks to 120 mg if this is necessary. Increasing the dose slowly like this allows your doctor to make sure that you have the dose that helps your condition and avoids any unwanted symptoms.
- You may take febuxostat at whatever time of day you find easiest to remember, but try to take your doses at the same time each day. This will help you to avoid missing any doses. You can take the tablets before, during or after your meals.
- If you do forget to take a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If you do not remember until the following day, skip the missed dose. Do not take two doses together to make up for a forgotten dose.
Getting the most from your treatment
- Try to keep your regular appointments with your doctor. This is so your doctor can check on your progress. A blood test is often done two weeks or so after starting febuxostat to check that the level of uric acid has come down. You will also need blood tests from time to time to check on your liver function.
- Febuxostat takes six months to become fully effective. You need to take it every day to prevent gout attacks.
- During the first few months you take febuxostat, your blood levels of uric acid may rise for a short while before they fall. This can cause a gout attack. Your doctor will prescribe an anti-inflammatory treatment or colchicine tablets for you to take if this happens. You should also continue to take your febuxostat tablets each day.
- Treatment with febuxostat for gout is usually long-term unless you experience an adverse effect. Continue to take the tablets unless you are advised otherwise.
- There are a number of lifestyle changes that you can make to help reduce the risk of having gout attacks. These include losing weight (if you are overweight), eating a healthy diet, and not drinking much alcohol or sugar-sweetened soft drinks. Your doctor can advise you about the changes which may benefit you.
Can febuxostat cause problems?
Along with their useful effects, most medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. These usually improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine, but speak with your doctor or pharmacist if any of the following side-effects continue or become troublesome.
|Common febuxostat side-effects - these affect less than 1 in 10 people who take this medicine ||What can I do if I experience this? |
|Diarrhoea ||Drink plenty of water to replace lost fluids. If this continues or becomes troublesome, let your doctor know |
|Headache ||Ask your pharmacist to recommend a suitable painkiller |
|Feeling sick ||Stick to simple meals - avoid rich or spicy food |
|Rash, swollen feet and ankles ||Speak with your doctor about either of these |
Important: if you experience any of the following rare but serious symptoms, stop taking febuxostat and speak with your doctor immediately, or go to your local accident and emergency department straightaway:
- Any difficulties breathing.
- A red, itchy, blistering rash, possibly also with mouth ulcers and swollen eyes.
- Any swelling around your face, arms or legs.
If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to this medicine, speak with your doctor or pharmacist.
How to store febuxostat
- Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
- Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.