Allopurinol is a medication usually used to prevent gout. Allopurinol has several positive effects on the heart and blood vessels, is inexpensive and is already widely used in patients. Ischaemic heart disease is common in people in the UK. In this study, we want to improve the treatment of patients with ischaemic heart disease. We want to investigate whether adding allopurinol to these patients’ usual medications will reduce their risk of having a stroke, heart attack or of dying due to cardiovascular disease.
Patients aged 60 years and over with ischaemic heart disease (IHD) can participate in the study.
Patients will attend their local general practice to take part in the study. Patients will be randomly allocated to receive allopurinol or no treatment in addition to their usual medications. They will then be followed up for a period of around 4 years to count the number of heart attacks, strokes and cardiovascular deaths that occur. The numbers of these events that occur in the two treatment groups will be compared to see if there is a benefit of adding allopurinol to their ongoing treatment. Most of the follow-up information will be collected electronically by accessing centrally held electronic records of hospital admissions and deaths. We will also measure quality of life and whether there is a cost benefit to the NHS of using allopurinol in patients with ischaemic heart disease.
Although we are doing the study to find out whether allopurinol reduces the risk of heart attack, stroke and cardiovascular death in patients with ischaemic heart disease, there may be no direct benefit to a patient of taking part in this study. Some patients might experience side effects due to taking allopurinol, for example, rash, nausea or vomiting.
The study is run from the Medicines Monitoring Unit (MEMO), University of Dundee / Ninewells Hospital, Dundee, UK, working with other university and NHS centres in Scotland and England.
This study is funded by the National Institute for Health Research, Health Technology Assessment Program (www.nihr.ac.uk). The study is supported by the Scottish Primary Care Research Network (SPCRN) and the Primary Care Research Networks and Comprehensive Local Research Networks in England.