Gout Drug Cuts Teen High Blood Pressure
Allopurinol Lowers Teen Blood Pressure but Isn't the Ultimate Answer, Researcher Says
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."
"This is not a benign medication," agrees Suzanne Steinbaum, DO, a
preventive cardiologist and director of Women and Heart Disease of the Heart
and Vascular Institute at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. "When I
give allopurinol to adults, there is a list of side effects [I provide to
For teens, Steinbaum says, the first line of treatment for high blood
pressure, as for adults, should be lifestyle improvement -- encouraging them to
eat right and to exercise.
Feig agrees that lifestyle comes first. In the study, the teens received
advice on how to eat a healthful diet and lose
In his ongoing research, Feig is studying obese teens with pre-hypertension
to see if lowering their uric acid will normalize their blood pressure. If the
same findings bear out, the next step, he says, is to find better ways to lower