Febuxostat (Oral)

Overview

For patients suffering from gout, Febuxostat is often used as a means to treat the high uric acid in the blood (known as hyperuricemia). As a xanthine oxidase inhibitor, it works by causing your body to produce lower quantities of uric acid. You can only obtain Febuxostat following a full medical examination from your doctor.

You should never attempt to access and self-prescribe this drug. It is known to interact with many different aspects of your condition and could cause some unnerving side effects if taken by the wrong patients.

Conditions Treated

  • Hyperuricemia

Type Of Medicine

  • Tablet

Side Effects

As well as helping to treat hyperuricemia, there is the possibility that Febuxostat could cause a range of other side effects to occur. In some cases, these side effects can be quite severe, but in others, they may simply be temporary. Directly below is a list of the more severe side effects that can occur. If you experience any of the following whilst taking Febuxostat, then you should contact your doctor immediately and seek urgent medical attention.

  • Increased thirst

Incidence not known

  • Swelling or puffiness of the eyelids or around the eyes, tongue, face, or lips

As well as these more serious side effects, there are also less serious ones that don't cause such immediate concern. Below is a list of such side effects. In many cases, they may pass over time as your treatment progresses and your body adapts to the medicine. If, however, you are worried by the side effects and would like to discuss them in more detail, you can still contact your doctor. They may be able to advise on means to reduce them or to make them more manageable.

Rare

  • Burning feeling in the stomach or chest

Incidence not known

  • Hallucinations

Though these lists are extensive, they do not necessarily cover all possible side effects. If you are expecting other side effects and are worried about them, then you should still contact your doctor for guidance.

Dosage

Below you can find the average doses of Febuxostat that are prescribed to patients suffering from hyperuricemia. Do be aware that the exact dosage you are given may vary greatly compared to someone else's. That is because each dosage is unique and based on a number of factors, such as the strength of the medicine and the extent of your condition. You should never adjust the dosage you take without first being told to do so by your doctor.

  • Adults: to start with, take 40mg once per day. Your doctor may then increase your dose as needed. However, it is not likely that your daily dose will ever exceed 80mg.
  • Children: the exact dosage will be calculated by the doctor.

If for any reason you miss a dose, you should take the missed dose as soon as you remember. However, if it is almost time for you to take your next dose, you should simply skip the missed one. This is because it is important you never double dose. Do be aware that, for the best results, you should never miss a scheduled dose.

Never take Febuxostat for a period longer than prescribed by your doctor. Only take it as long as it is needed and for as long as you have been told to, never take any more.

Upon receiving the medication, you will also find a patient information insert. You should read this carefully and address any questions you have to your doctor.

Febuxostat can be taken either with or without food, and it may be taken along with antacids.

You may find that, as you first start taking this medicine, you will experience more attacks of gout. If this occurs, it is important you keep taking the medicine. To help prevent these attacks, you can speak to your doctor, as they may be able to prescribe some pain medicines or colchicine.

Interactions

It is possible that Febuxostat could cause interactions to occur with other drugs you take. These interactions can be fairly severe, so it is important your doctor is fully aware of all drugs you take. This way, they can advise you on the best way to prevent interactions occurring. This may mean limiting the dosages given or choosing an alternate form of medicine altogether. You should inform them of all prescription and non-prescription drugs you take, as well as any supplements and herbal vitamins. Directly below is a list of drugs which it is recommended you don't take at the same time as Febuxostat:

  • Mercaptopurine

You may find that taking Febuxostat with any of the following drugs could lead to an increased chance of certain side effects occurring. However, it may also be the case that taking both drugs is in the best interest of your health. If your doctor does choose to prescribe both together, then they may take steps to help avoid such unwanted side effects from occurring.

  • Theophylline

As well as drugs, it may be the case that Febuxostat will interact with certain parts of your dietary intake. This includes what you eat, drink and smoke. You should be honest and open with your doctor about your typical dietary intake. They may need to limit or alter certain aspects of your diet, such as by reducing your intake of alcohol or tobacco.

Finally, an interaction could possibly occur between Febuxostat and other medical problems you suffer from. Below is a list of more serious medical problems that you should make your doctor aware of if they affect you:

  • Malignant disease (cancer), Lesch-Nyhan syndrome (a rare, inherited enzyme problem), secondary hyperuricemia, or organ transplant recipients. It is not recommended that such patients use this drug
  • Severe liver disease. You should use Febuxostat with caution, as it has not been studied in patients suffering from this
  • A history of heart attacks
  • A history of strokes. You should use Febuxostat with caution, as it may cause this problem to occur again
  • Severe kidney disease

Warnings

Before your doctor prescribes you Febuxostat, they will first need to examine you to decide whether it is indeed the most suitable drug for you. As a part of this examination, they will need to understand the full extent of your medical condition. Part of this means looking at any allergies you currently have, whether to this drug or others, as well as foods, animals, preservatives and dyes.

As of writing, safety and efficacy have not been established for the use of Febuxostat on children. This is because no studies have been performed on how age affects the drug. Your doctor is best placed to decide whether or not this is a suitable drug for your child. With regards to elderly patients, any studies carried out have not indicated that the drug is less useful.

It is unclear as to whether Febuxostat has been properly tested on pregnant women and whether any adverse effects are apparent. Therefore, if you are pregnant, you will need to weigh up any potential risks and benefits with your doctor. They are best placed to decide whether this is the best drug to take. If you become pregnant whilst taking Febuxostat, you should inform your doctor, as they may need to alter your prescription.

Similarly, no adequate studies have been performed on breastfeeding women taking this drug Instead, your doctor will need to advise you whether there are any increased infant risks.

Whilst taking this drug, your doctor will schedule regular appointments for you to attend. This is so they can monitor your condition and make any necessary adjustments to your prescription. To test for any unwanted effects, it may be necessary for them to carry out blood tests.

You should not take mercaptopurine (Purinethol) or azathioprine (Azasan, Imuran) whilst using Febuxostat. Doing so can cause some serious medical problems to occur.

Taking Febuxostat can possibly cause serious blood or heart vessel problems to occur. This includes things like heart attacks and strokes. If you experience problems with vision, speech or walking, chest pains, trouble breathing or sudden or severe headaches at any time, then contact your doctor immediately.

Unless first cleared by your doctor, do not take any other medicines alongside Febuxostat. This includes all vitamin supplements, herbal remedies, prescription and non-prescription drugs.

Storage

You should store this medicine in a sealed container and at room temperature. It should be kept away from direct sunlight, heat and moisture. It should never be allowed to freeze and should be stored safely away from children. Once you have finished your course of treatment, or if the medicine goes out of date, you should dispose of it safely and sensibly. Your doctor can advise you on how to do so.

Summary

If you are currently suffering from gout and have higher levels of uric acid in your blood, then Febuxostat can potentially be a very useful drug. However, it is clear that it can cause a number of unwanted and potentially harmful side effects to occur. For this reason, you should only ever use this medicine if it has been prescribed to you. Your doctor is best placed to assess your condition and decide whether it is suitable. Similarly, they can then track your condition over time and make any necessary adjustments to your prescription.

You should attend all appointments and be open and honest with your doctor at all times. You should also be careful in taking all scheduled dosages as this allows for maximum benefits received from the treatment. If you have difficulty remembering to take scheduled doses, then you should set suitable reminders.

If you have any further questions or would like assistance with any side effects you are experiencing, you should contact your doctor. They are most informed in understanding your condition and advising on necessary steps to reduce or remove unwanted side effects.