Chronic Kidney Disease: Allopurinol Fails to Slow Disease Progression

According to a story from Physician’s Weekly, a recent study has concluded that the drug allopurinol is not capable of slowing down the progression of chronic kidney disease. The research, headed by scientists from New Zealand and Australia and published in the New England Journal of Medicine, concluded that the urate-lowering effect of the medication had no effect on a variety of disease indicators.

About Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD)

Chronic kidney disease is an illness in which the functionality of the kidneys is affected over time. This progressive disease can occur over a period of months or years and often results in eventual kidney failure. This disease often causes no symptoms at first. There are a number of risk factors for chronic kidney disease, such as diabetes, glomerulonephritis, family history, and high blood pressure. The cause is not known in all cases. As the disease progresses, symptoms such as leg swelling, confusion, fatigue, vomiting, loss of appetite, heart disease, bone disease, anemia, and high blood pressure may appear. Treatment may include dietary changes, certain medications, and, in later stages, dialysis or kidney transplant. The most common cause of death for people with chronic kidney disease is cardiovascular disease, which may appear before the kidneys completely shut down. To learn more about chronic kidney disease, click here.

About the Study

The research investigated the effect of allopurinol on a variety of biomarkers and symptoms, such as estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR), blood pressure, and proteinuria. The risk of end-stage kidney disease, decline in eGFR, and death were also assessed. The study included a total of 369 patients in total, all adults with stage 3 or 4 disease who were at risk for progression. The effects of the drug were compared to placebo.

The decision to test allopurinol was based on the finding that high levels of urate had been affiliated to an increased risk of symptom onset or progression of the disease. However, these findings appear to refute the possibility that high urate is a direct contributor to progression of the illness, at least in adult patients.

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