Febuxostat

Sounds like 'feb-ux-oh-stat'

Febuxostat is used to prevent gout. Find out how to take it safely and possible side effects. Febuxostat is also called Adenuric.

Type of medicine Also called
  • Medicine to prevent gout
  • Belongs to a group of medicines known as urate lowering therapy
  • Adenuric®
August 2021: The funded brand of febuxostat is changing.
From 1 August 2021, the funded brand of febuxostat is changing from Adenuric to Febuxostat MultichemThere will be a 5-month transition period until 1 January 2022. Although your new tablets will look different, Febuxostat Multichem has the same active ingredient as Adenuric. Read more about the febuxostat brand change

What is febuxostat?

Febuxostat is used to prevent gout attacks or flares. It is used when other medicines like allopurinol cannot be taken or haven’t worked well. Febuxostat is not a treatment for a gout flare – it does not relieve short-term pain and swelling, but you must keep taking febuxostat if you get an attack and are already taking it (see special instructions below). Febuxostat is available as tablets (80 milligrams or 120 milligrams). 

How does febuxostat work?

Febuxostat helps reduce urate levels in your blood (serum urate) and reduce gout attacks.

  • Uric acid is a normal product of your metabolism and in the blood, uric acid becomes urate.
  • When urate levels are high, crystals can form around joints causing inflammation, pain and damage. This is known as gout.
  • To reduce gout attacks, it is important to keep your serum urate level below 0.36 mmol/L.
  • When the serum urate is below 0.36mmol/L no new crystals form and crystals that are in your joints or skin can dissolve.

Read more about gout or watch a video about febuxostat for gout.

Dose

  • The usual dose of febuxostat is 80 milligrams once daily.
  • After 2 to 4 weeks of treatment, your doctor will test your serum urate with a blood test. If it is still above 0.36 mmol/L, your dose may increase to 120 milligrams once daily.
  • Always take your febuxostat exactly as your doctor has told you. The pharmacy label on your medicine will tell you how much febuxostat to take, how often to take it and any special instructions.

How to take febuxostat

  • Timing: Take febuxostat at the same time each day. It is best taken in the morning. If you do shift work or want to take your medicine at night, talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist. You can take febuxostat with or without food.
  • Keep taking febuxostat every day, to prevent gout attacks. It may take a few weeks before you notice the full benefits of febuxostat. Do not stop taking febuxostat suddenly – talk to your doctor or nurse before stopping. Stopping febuxostat suddenly can make your gout worse.
  • Missed dose: If you forget to take your tablet, take it as soon as you remember. But if it is nearly time for your next tablet, just take the next tablet at the right time. Do not take double the dose.

Special instructions

  • Increased gout attacks: Gout attacks can still happen in the first few weeks or months after you start taking febuxostat. Your doctor will also prescribe a low-dose non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) or colchicine for 6 months to reduce the chances of these attacks. Keep taking febuxostat every day, even during a gout attack.
  • Blood tests: When you first start taking febuxostat, you will need to have blood tests to monitor your serum urate levels and your liver.
  • Limit or avoid alcohol: Drinking alcohol can increase your risk of gout attacks.

Precautions – before taking febuxostat

  • Do you have problems with your heart such as heart failure?
  • Do you have problems with your liver, kidneys or thyroid gland?
  • Are you pregnant or breastfeeding?
  • Are you taking any other medicines? This includes any medicines you buy without a prescription, such as herbal and complementary medicines.

If so, it’s important that you tell your doctor or pharmacist before you start febuxostat or any new medicines. Sometimes a medicine isn’t suitable for a person with certain conditions, or it can only be used with extra care.

Side effects

Like all medicines, febuxostat can cause side effects, although not everyone gets them. Often side effects improve as your body gets used to the new medicine.

Side effects What should I do?
  • Headache
  • Feeling sick or vomiting
  • Diarrhoea (runny poo)
  • These are quite common when you first start taking febuxostat and usually go away with time.
  • Tell your doctor if these side effects cause you problems or don’t go away.
  • Dizziness
  • Sleepiness
  • Blurred vision
  • Be careful when driving or using tools until you know how this medicine affects you
  • Signs of an allergic reaction, such as sudden redness of your skin, skin rashes, itching, swelling of your face, lips or mouth, and problems breathing, such as shortness of breath or wheezing
  • Stop taking febuxostat.
  • Tell your doctor immediately or phone Healthline on 0800 611 116.


  • Signs of problems with your liver such as yellowing of your skin or eyes, dark pee or pain in your abdomen (tummy)
  • Tell your doctor immediately or phone Healthline on 0800 611 116.

Interactions

Febuxostat may interact with a few medicines and herbal supplements, so check with your doctor or pharmacist before starting febuxostat and before starting any new medicines.

Learn more

Febuxostat RheumInfo
Adenuric
Medsafe Consumer Information Sheet, NZ

References

  1. Managing gout in primary care BPAC, NZ, 2018
  2. Febuxostat NZ Formulary
Credits: Sandra Ponen, Pharmacist. Reviewed By: Angela Lambie, Pharmacist, Auckland Last reviewed: 30 Apr 2018