Allopurinol and Alcohol

by on June 13, 2012

Allopurinol (Zyloprim, Aloprim) is a xanthine oxidase inhibitor that prevents attacks of gout and renal stones in affected patients, and also treats some complications of cancer chemotherapy.  It works by reducing the amount of a chemical called uric acid, which in high doses is responsible for these conditions. Allopurinol is not used to treat gout or renal stones, rather to prevent further attacks in patients already affected by these conditions.

Interactions and Side Effects With Alcohol Use

Drinking alcohol increases your risk of having an attack of gout or of renal stones. This occurs in two ways: firstly, it has been shown that alcohol increases your levels of uric acid in the blood. Secondly, it dehydrates you, and good hydration is important for preventing both renal stones and gout from occurring.

This effect will occur even if you take allopurinol. Alcohol use does not stop allopurinol from working, it is still absorbed and works as it is supposed to, the alcohol will simply reverse some of its effects and increase the amount of uric acid in your body.

Are Moderate Amounts of Alcohol Safe to Drink with Allopurinol?

You can drink a moderate amount of alcohol with allopurinol, but it will predispose you to further attacks of gout. Therefore you should definitely stick to the alcohol consumption limits recommended by doctors. These are up to two units a day for women and up to fourteen units a week, and for men up to three units a day and up to twenty one units a week. A unit of alcohol is a small glass of wine, half a pint of beer or a measure of spirits. If you find sticking to these limits difficult, seek help from your physician.

To limit the dehydrating effects of alcohol on the body which will predispose you to gout and renal stones, ensure that you drink at least eight-ten glasses of water daily. In addition, you should try to adopt some of the following lifestyle changes to prevent these health problems from occurring.

  • Maintain a healthy weight; your body mass index should be between 19 and 25.
  • Stop smoking; obtain advice from you pharmacist or physician on how to do this.
  • Exercise regularly; three to five times a week for half an hour is the recommended amount.
  • Eat a healthy diet, and reduce your intake of meat and seafood as these foods increase your uric acid levels.

If you find it difficult to achieve these health goals, then contact your physician who will be able to provide help, support and referral to the appropriate health professional.

Signs to look for if you Consume Alcohol with Allopurinol

The main indicator that you should stop drinking alcohol when taking allopurinol is if you develop further attacks of gout or renal stones. Also, if your uric acid blood test levels start to increase, this could be due to your alcohol consumption and a sign that you should stop consuming alcohol. For further advice and support on whether you can drink alcohol with allopurinol, you should contact your physician.