Uloric (Febuxostat) - Oral

Warning:

Uloric (febuxostat) contains a boxed warning about the increased risk of cardiovascular death in those with gout who have established heart disease while taking Uloric compared with allopurinol (another gout medication). Uloric should only be used in people who have had an inadequate response to allopurinol or cannot take allopurinol.

What Is Uloric?

Uloric (febuxostat) is an antigout pill only available as a prescription. It helps manage elevated uric acid levels in adults for whom allopurinol, another antigout medication, is not an appropriate treatment.

Your body makes uric acid from purines, a chemical compound that can also be found in foods. In people with gout, their body produces too much uric acid from purines. Too much uric acid causes sudden severe pains and swelling. Uloric works by blocking the conversion of purines to uric acid by an enzyme called xanthine oxidase. In doing so, Uloric lowers the amount of uric acid in the blood.

Uloric belongs to a class of medications called xanthine oxidase inhibitors. It is available as a tablet to take by mouth.

Drug Facts

Generic Name: Febuxostat

Brand Name(s): Uloric

Administration Route(s): Oral

Drug Availability: Prescription

Therapeutic Classification: Antigout

Available Generically: Yes

Controlled Substance: N/A

Active Ingredient: Febuxostat

Dosage Form(s): Tablet

What Is Uloric Used For?

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Uloric to lower uric acid levels in people with gout.

According to the prescribing label, Uloric should only be used: 

  • In people who did not respond to allopurinol at the highest dose
  • In people who cannot tolerate allopurinol
  • When it is not a good idea to treat with allopurinol

Uloric carries a boxed warning about the increased death rates due to heart-related issues compared to allopurinol. A boxed warning is the FDA’s strictest safety-related warning added to a medication’s label. Uloric is limited to its use in certain people who are not otherwise treated effectively with allopurinol or who cannot tolerate allopurinol due to side effects.

Uloric is also not used in people who do not have any symptoms related to high blood uric acid levels.

How to Take Uloric

Take one tablet by mouth daily only as directed by your healthcare provider. You can take this medicine with or without antacids or food. Continue taking your medication the way your provider tells you to, even if you feel well.

It’s important to understand that your gout symptoms may worsen when you start taking this medication. Do not stop taking Uloric if this happens.

Storage

Store your medicine in a dry place at room temperature (77 degrees Fahrenheit). Protect your medicine from light. Do not store your drug in the bathroom. 

Keep your drugs safe and from children or pets. Toss any unused or expired drugs. Ask your pharmacist the best ways to dispose of your medicine.

Off-Label Use

A healthcare provider may prescribe off-label treatments when the decision is supported by scientific evidence or expert clinical experience. Uloric is sometimes prescribed off-label to prevent tumor lysis syndrome in people with an intermediate or high risk of developing the condition.

How Long Does Uloric Take to Work?

It takes Uloric about one to one-and-a-half hours to peak. It also stays in the body for about five to eight hours.

What Are the Side Effects of Uloric?

This is not a complete list of side effects, and others may occur. A healthcare provider can advise you on side effects. If you experience other effects, contact your pharmacist or a healthcare provider. You may report side effects to the FDA at fda.gov/medwatch or 1-800-FDA-1088.

Common Side Effects

The most common side effects of Uloric include: 

  • Liver problems
  • Diarrhea
  • Upset stomach
  • Joint pain
  • Rash
  • Dizziness

Tell your healthcare provider if you have these if they become bothersome or do not go away.

Severe Side Effects

Uloric may cause severe side effects. Some of these side effects include but are not limited to:

  • Heart problems: Watch for signs of chest pain, shortness of breath or trouble breathing, dizziness or fainting, fast or abnormal heartbeat, numbness or weakness on one side of the body, slurring of speech, and sudden blurry vision or severe headache.
  • Liver problems: Signs may include fatigue, dark urine, loss of appetite, jaundice, and pain, aching, or tenderness on the right side of your stomach.
  • Gout flares
  • Severe skin reactions that may cause rash, red and painful skin, skin blisters, flu-like symptoms, peeling skin, or sores around the mouth or eyes.
  • Allergic reactions that may cause swelling around the face, lips, mouth, tongue, or throat.

Call your healthcare provider as soon as possible if you have serious side effects. Call 911 if your symptoms feel life-threatening or if you think you have a medical emergency.

Report Side Effects

Uloric may cause other side effects. Call your healthcare provider if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.

If you experience a serious side effect, you or your provider may send a report to the FDA's MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting Program or by phone (800-332-1088).

Dosage: How Much Uloric Should I Take?

Drug Content Provided and Reviewed by IBM Micromedex®

The dose of this medicine will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of this medicine. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.

The amount of medicine that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.

  • For oral dosage form (tablets):
    • For treatment of hyperuricemia:
      • Adults—At first, 40 milligrams (mg) or 80 mg once a day. Your doctor may increase your dose as needed. However, the dose is usually not more than 80 mg per day.
      • Children—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.

Modifications

Your healthcare provider may change your Uloric dose based on how well your kidney works.

Missed Dose

Take your missed Uloric dose as soon as you think of it. Do not double up on dose or take extra doses. If your missed dose is too close to the next dose, skip the missed dose. Start back at your regular time.

Overdose: What Happens If I Take Too Much Uloric?

Overdose symptoms may include chest pain, change in balance, or abnormal heartbeat.

What Happens If I Overdose on Uloric?

If you think you or someone else may have overdosed on Uloric, call a healthcare provider or the Poison Control Center (800-222-1222).

If someone collapses, has a seizure, has trouble breathing, or can’t wake up after taking too much Uloric, call 911 immediately.

Precautions

Drug Content Provided and Reviewed by IBM Micromedex®

It is very important that your doctor check your progress at regular visits to make sure that this medicine is working properly. Blood and urine tests may be needed to check for unwanted effects.

Do not use azathioprine (Azasan®, Imuran®) or mercaptopurine (Purinethol®) while you are using this medicine. Using these medicines together can cause serious medical problems.

This medicine may increase your risk of having serious heart and blood vessel problems, such as unstable chest pain, heart attack, stroke, or death. Check with your doctor right away if start having chest pain, trouble with breathing, sudden or severe headache, or problems with vision, speech, or walking.

Check with your doctor right away if you have pain or tenderness in the upper stomach, pale stools, dark urine, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, or yellow eyes or skin. These could be symptoms of a serious liver problem.

Serious skin reactions can occur with this medicine. Check with your doctor right away if you have blistering, peeling, or loosening of the skin, red skin lesions, severe acne or a skin rash, sores or ulcers on the skin, or fever or chills with this medicine.

Do not take other medicines unless they have been discussed with your doctor. This includes prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicines and herbal or vitamin supplements.

What Are Reasons I Shouldn't Take Uloric?

Your healthcare provider may not prescribe Uloric for you if you:

  • Are taking azathioprine or mercaptopurine
  • Have health conditions that increase the risk of urate production in your body (e.g., Lesch-Nyhan syndrome or some cancers)
  • Are allergic to lactose. Lactose is an ingredient in Uloric.

What Other Medications Interact With Uloric?

Some medications interact with Uloric when taken together. Uloric can increase the effect of certain drugs and increase the intensity of side effects.

If you are prescribed Uloric, you should not take:

What Medications Are Similar?

 Other drugs used to treat and prevent gout include:

Zyloprim and Uloric are in the same drug class. Zyloprim has fewer side effects but more drug-drug interactions than Uloric. It also takes longer to start working (about two to three days) and normal uric acid levels are reached within one to three weeks. For this reason, Zyloprim does not treat acute or active gout situations.

While Uloric can help with gout attack maintenance, Colcrys, Indocin, and Medrol are typically used for active gout attack treatments. These medications quickly control and reduce flares. Colcrys has very high toxicity. You should not take high doses of Colcrys except if directed by your healthcare provider.

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are best for people younger than 60 years old without any kidney, heart, or gastrointestinal disease. NSAIDs can cause stomach upset and should be taken with food. 

Glucocorticoids like Medrol dose packs can be comparable or more effective than Uloric. Medrol has a low risk of side effects in most people.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is Uloric used for?

     Uloric is used to reduce uric acid levels in people with gout. It helps to prevent gout attacks, but does not treat them while they are occurring.

  • How does Uloric work?

    Uloric reduces the amount of uric acid that the body makes. In gout, uric acid builds up in the joints, which causes attacks of redness, swelling, pain, and heat.

  • What are some side effects of Uloric?

    Some of the common side effects of Uloric include joint pain, nausea, diarrhea, rash, and dizziness. Liver problems can also occur.

  • How long does it take for Uloric to work?

    Uloric peaks at about one to one-and-a-half hours and stays in the body for about five to eight hours.

How Can I Stay Healthy While Taking Uloric?

A gout attack is never a fun situation. However, several medications are available to help control the severity and frequency of your gout symptoms. Uloric helps to reduce the amount of uric acid in your blood and prevent gout attacks from happening in the first place.

Apart from taking your medicine, you should adjust your diet if you have gout. Eat healthily and avoid foods that can trigger gout episodes like:

  • Red meat
  • Seafood
  • Organ meat

These foods are high in purine. They will cause your body to make more uric acid, which is not good for you.

Adding exercise to your daily regimen can also help. You do not have to start with rigorous training or heavy lifting. Start small with walks or swimming. Exercising can lower your pain, lift your mood, and improve your quality of life. There are various physical activity programs that you can try.

Finally, always listen and communicate with your healthcare team. Take your medicines as instructed. Never hesitate to contact your pharmacist or healthcare provider with any questions or concerns.

Medical Disclaimer

Verywell Health's drug information is meant for educational purposes only and is not intended as a replacement for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from a healthcare professional. Consult your doctor before taking any new medication(s). IBM Watson Micromedex provides some of the drug content, as indicated on the page.

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3 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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  2. Food and Drug Administration. Uloric label.

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