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Hypertension/High Blood Pressure Health Center

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Gout Drug Cuts Teen High Blood Pressure

Allopurinol Lowers Teen Blood Pressure but Isn't the Ultimate Answer, Researcher Says

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 monitoring system.

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."

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