Effects of Allopurinol on Endothelial Function: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Placebo-Controlled Trials

Arrigo F.G. Cicero, Matteo Pirro, Gerald F. Watts, Dimitri P. Mikhailidis, Maciej Banach, Amirhossein Sahebkar

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

39 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction: Uric acid (UA), the final product of purine catabolism, may be associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Aim: The aim of this meta-analysis of randomized placebo-controlled trials was to evaluate whether lowering serum UA (SUA) levels with allopurinol is associated with improved flow-mediated dilation (FMD), a validated marker of early vascular damage. Methods: A literature search was carried out from inception until 20 June 2017. Meta-analysis was performed using an inverse variance-weighted, random-effects model with standardized mean difference (SMD) as the effect size estimate. Results: Meta-analysis of data from the ten eligible randomized controlled trials (RCTs), with 670 subjects, suggested a significant increase in FMD following allopurinol treatment (weighted mean difference [WMD] 1.79%, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.01–2.56, p < 0.001; I2: 86.77%). The effect size was robust and remained significant after omission of each single study. Subgroup analyses of RCTs based on the administered dose or duration of treatment did not reveal any significant impact of these variables on FMD change. Nor was a significant association found between allopurinol-induced changes in SUA levels and FMD (slope 0.46, p = 0.253), whereas baseline FMD significantly influenced the degree of FMD improvement following allopurinol treatment (slope 0.52, p = 0.022). Nitroglycerin-mediated dilation was not altered by allopurinol treatment (WMD 0.88%, 95% CI − 1.15–2.91, p = 0.395; I2: 80.88%). Conclusion: This meta-analysis of available RCTs suggests a significant benefit from allopurinol intake in increasing FMD in humans, independent of its effect on SUA levels.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)99-109
Number of pages11
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018
Externally publishedYes


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