Gout drug may ease hypertension in teens

8/28/2008

NEW YORK A drug normally prescribed to treat gout may also help lower high blood pressure in teenagers, a study has found.

The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association Wednesday, gave 30 teenagers aged 11 to 17 the drug allopurinol. The teenagers, recently diagnosed with stage I essential hypertension, were instructed to take 200 mg of the drug or a placebo twice a day for a month. After a month, the test and control groups were switched.

The teenagers experienced declining levels of uric acid—a cause of hypertension—while taking allipurinol and had normal blood pressure.

The researchers conducting the study, however, warned this was not a reason to prescribe allipurinol to teenagers with high blood pressure. The drug can have serious side effects, including Stevens-Johnson syndrome, an allergic reaction that can cause severe pain and death.

Allopurinol is the generic name for Prometheus Laboratories’ Zyloprim.

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