Background: Hyperuricemia is associated strongly with the development of hypertension, renal disease, and progression. Allopurinol decreases serum uric acid levels by inhibiting the enzyme xanthine oxidase. We hypothesized that administrating allopurinol to decrease serum uric acid levels to the normal range in hyperuricemic patients with chronic kidney disease may be of benefit in decreasing blood pressure and slowing the rate of renal disease progression in these patients.
Methods: We conducted a prospective, randomized, controlled trial of 54 hyperuricemic patients with chronic kidney disease. Patients were randomly assigned to treatment with allopurinol, 100 to 300 mg/d, or to continue the usual therapy for 12 months. Clinical, hematologic, and biochemical parameters were measured at baseline and 3, 6, and 12 months of treatment. We define our study end points as: (1) stable kidney function with less than 40% increase in serum creatinine level, (2) impaired renal function with creatinine level increase greater than 40% of baseline value, (3) initiation of dialysis therapy, and (4) death.
Results: One patient in the treatment group dropped out because of skin allergy to allopurinol. Serum uric acid levels were significantly decreased in subjects treated with allopurinol, from 9.75 +/- 1.18 mg/dL (0.58 +/- 0.07 mmol/L) to 5.88 +/- 1.01 mg/dL (0.35 +/- 0.06 mmol/L; P < 0.001). There were no significant differences in systolic or diastolic blood pressure at the end of the study comparing the 2 groups. There was a trend toward a lower serum creatinine level in the treatment group compared with controls after 12 months of therapy, although it did not reach statistical significance (P = 0.08). Overall, 4 of 25 patients (16%) in the allopurinol group reached the combined end points of significant deterioration in renal function and dialysis dependence compared with 12 of 26 patients (46.1%) in the control group (P = 0.015).
Conclusion: Allopurinol therapy significantly decreases serum uric acid levels in hyperuricemic patients with mild to moderate chronic kidney disease. Its use is safe and helps preserve kidney function during 12 months of therapy compared with controls. Results of this study need to be confirmed with an additional prospective trial involving a larger cohort of patients to determine the long-term efficacy of allopurinol therapy and in specific chronic kidney disease subpopulations.