Having a high uric acid level does not mean
that you have
gout. If your uric acid level is high and you do not
have any other symptoms, you will not need to take any medicine to decrease
your uric acid level.
If you have kidney disease or have had a
problem with kidney stones, your doctor may start treatment with a medicine,
such as allopurinol, even if your uric acid levels are not too
Uric acid also may be measured in blood. For more
information, see the medical test
Uric Acid in Blood.
About 10% of kidney
stones are made of uric acid. These white or orange stones are difficult to see
on an abdominal X-ray. Uric acid stones can form when urine has a low
pH (is very acidic). People who have gout are at high
risk of developing uric acid kidney stones. Allopurinol (such as Zyloprim) may be prescribed without performing a 24-hour uric acid urine level
if a person has significantly impaired kidney function or
tophi. Tophi are chalky, white accumulations of uric
acid crystals that build up in the soft tissue of a joint, often occurring in
the joints of fingers. Tophi may also develop in the cartilage of the external
ear, the back of the fingers, or the elbow.
The chance of having
high levels of uric acid in the urine increases under some conditions, such as
chemotherapy for some types of cancer.
If the urine uric acid is greater than 750 mg per 24-hour urine
sample, a person with gout is usually treated with a medicine such as
allopurinol (for example, Zyloprim) that decreases the body's
production of uric acid. A person in this situation is called an
If the urine uric acid is less than 750 mg per
24-hour urine sample, a person with gout may be treated with a medicine such
as probenecid (for example, Probalan) that increases uric acid elimination by
the kidneys. A person in this situation is called an
A person with tophi or uric acid kidney stones
will be treated for high uric acid levels no matter what the results of the
uric acid test are.