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What Is Febuxostat Used For?

Febuxostat is licensed for preventing gout attacks. This prescription medication works by inhibiting the effects of a certain enzyme, which can lower uric acid levels and prevent gout attacks. However, this medication is not very effective at treating a gout attack that is already occurring. Occasionally, a healthcare provider may recommend this medication for other uses. These off-label uses of febuxostat include preventing high uric acid levels caused by cancer treatment and preventing kidney stones.

What Is Febuxostat Used For?

Febuxostat (Uloric®) is a prescription medication approved for the treatment of gout. It belongs to a class of medications known as xanthine oxidase inhibitors.
Gout is a very painful form of arthritis. It is caused in part by high uric acid levels (see Causes of Gout). Uric acid is a substance that results from the breakdown of purines, which are part of all human tissue and are found in many foods. Normally, uric acid is dissolved in the blood and is passed through the kidneys into the urine, where it is eliminated from the body. If the body increases its production of uric acid, or if the kidneys do not eliminate enough from the body, increased levels of uric acid build up in the blood.
Excess uric acid can form crystals in joints or other parts of the body. These crystals can lead to inflammation, causing painful gout symptoms. This increased level of uric acid in the blood can also lead to:
  • Deposits of uric acid (called tophi) that look like lumps under the skin around the joints and at the rim of the ear
  • Kidney stones from uric acid crystals in the kidneys.
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