Gout Drug Cuts Teen High Blood Pressure
Allopurinol Lowers Teen Blood Pressure but Isn't the Ultimate Answer, Researcher Says
WebMD News Archive
Gout Medicine for Teen Blood Pressure
Feig's team randomly assigned 30 teens, aged 11 to 17, with newly diagnosed
stage I essential hypertension, the mildest kind, to take either 200 milligrams
of allopurinol twice daily for four weeks or a placebo twice daily for four
weeks. The teens didn't know which they were taking.
After four weeks, the teens switched groups: Teens taking the placebo got
the drug and teens taking the drug got the placebo.
All of the teens had levels of uric acid associated, in previous studies,
with high blood pressure. Most of the participants were overweight or obese.
They had their blood pressure taken at the clinic and via an ambulatory
Gout Medicine for Blood Pressure: Study Results
The teens' uric acid levels declined while taking allopurinol. While on the
drug, blood pressure dropped, and the differences were significant between the
medication and placebo phases, Feig says. "Twenty of 30 children were
normotensive [had normal blood pressure] on allopurinol," he says. "On
placebo, one of 30 was [at normal blood pressure]."
At the start, the teens' blood pressure readings in the clinic averaged
139/83. During the drug treatment phases, blood pressure decreased by an
average of 6.9 points for systolic pressure (the top number of a blood pressure
reading) and 5.1 for diastolic pressure (the bottom number). On the placebo,
systolic pressure declined by 2 and diastolic pressure declined by 2.4.
Allopurinol for Teen Blood Pressure: Serious Side Effects
Two experts who reviewed the study results for WebMD worried, as Feig did,
that the results would be over-interpreted and viewed as a reason to use
allopurinol in teens.
"I think the study is well done,'' says Henry Black, MD, president of
the American Society of Hypertension and a clinical professor of medicine at
the New York University School of Medicine in New York. It found what it set
out to prove, he says -- that lowering high uric acid levels can lower blood
pressure, at least in this small study.
But he had a caveat: "Allopurinol has some very serious and potentially
fatal side effects," he says, including gastrointestinal complaints and a
severe, allergic reaction known as Stevens-Johnson
syndrome. "It's a leap to consider allopurinol an alternative treatment
for high blood pressure in teens."