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Uric Acid in Urine

What To Think About

  • 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 high.
  • Uric acid also may be measured in blood. To learn more, see the topic Uric Acid in Blood.
  • About 10 out of 100 kidney stones are made of uric acid. These white or orange stones are hard 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 doing a 24-hour uric acid urine level test 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 from receiving 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 that decreases the body's production of uric acid. A person in this situation is called an "overproducer."
  • 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 "underexcretor."
  • 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.

Related Information

Citations

  1. Fischbach FT, Dunning MB III, eds. (2009). Manual of Laboratory and Diagnostic Tests, 8th ed. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.

Other Works Consulted

  • Chernecky CC, Berger BJ (2008). Laboratory Tests and Diagnostic Procedures, 5th ed. St. Louis: Saunders.

  • Fischbach FT, Dunning MB III, eds. (2009). Manual of Laboratory and Diagnostic Tests, 8th ed. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.

  • Pagana KD, Pagana TJ (2010). Mosby’s Manual of Diagnostic and Laboratory Tests, 4th ed. St. Louis: Mosby.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: June 12, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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