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Pharmacotherapy 2020 Feb;40(2):125-32

Drug-interaction between febuxostat and thiopurine antimetabolites: a review of the FDA adverse event reporting system and medical literature.

Logan JK, Wickramaratne Senarath Yapa S, Harinstein L, Saluja B, Munoz M, Sahajwalla C, Neuner R, Seymour S


BACKGROUND: There is a known drug interaction (DI) between xanthine oxidase (XO) inhibitors and the thiopurine immunosuppressants, azathioprine (AZA) and mercaptopurine (6-MP). Xanthine Oxidase inhibition increases concentrations of AZA and 6-MP active metabolites, possibly resulting in myelosuppression. When allopurinol is used with AZA or 6-MP, dose reduction of AZA or 6-MP is recommended. Febuxostat is a newer XO inhibitor approved for the treatment of gout. OBJECTIVE: To determine the clinical impact of the febuxostat-thiopurine DI. DESIGN AND SETTING: Case series derived from the United States Food and Drug Administration Adverse Event Reporting System (FAERS) and published medical literature. PATIENTS: Nineteen patients who received concomitant febuxostat and either AZA or 6-MP. MEASUREMENTS: Laboratory and clinical data. RESULTS: Nineteen cases reporting myelosuppressive events were identified in patients receiving febuxostat with AZA or 6-MP. Eighteen cases were treated with the combination of AZA and febuxostat. A median of 1.6 months elapsed from initiation of the drug combination until discovery of the event. Sixteen cases required hospitalization and 15 reported administration of blood products. Most cases reported resolution of the event with discontinuation of both drugs (n=13), discontinuation of the thiopurine only (n=2), or discontinuation of febuxostat only (n=1). LIMITATIONS: Thiopurine monotherapy may cause myelosuppression. Complications of immunosuppression that may contribute to the real-world morbidity and mortality associated with the febuxostat-thiopurine DI were not examined. Finally, FAERS data is limited by the voluntarily nature of reporting. CONCLUSION: Current febuxostat labeling contraindicates concomitant administration of febuxostat with either AZA or 6-MP. This case series demonstrates that the DI can result in clinically significant adverse events and is supportive of current febuxostat labeling.

Category: Journal Article, Review
PubMed ID: #31885095 DOI: 10.1002/phar.2362
Includes FDA Authors from Scientific Area(s): Drugs
Entry Created: 2020-01-06 Entry Last Modified: 2020-02-16