The teratogenicity of allopurinol: A comprehensive review of animal and human studies

Melek Simsek*, Roza C.M. Opperman, Chris J.J. Mulder, Cornelis B. Lambalk, Nanne K.H. de Boer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review


Allopurinol is widely used in the management of multiple disorders including gout, kidney stones and inflammatory bowel disease. Despite of long-term experience, its safety in pregnancy has been debated due to reports on possible teratogenicity. We aimed to review the literature on the safety of allopurinol in pregnancy and offspring. In animals, allopurinol induced species-specific reproductive toxicity. In humans, a total of 53 allopurinol exposed infants were reported in the literature. Major congenital malformations were reported in two cases with a comparable pattern of multiple abnormalities. Five other infants had minor birth defects. In conclusion, the association between allopurinol and teratogenicity appears to be weak and limited to two reports with uncertain causality. However, the available data are insufficient to make a certain judgement, and as allopurinol treatment evolves, report and prospective follow-up of all exposed infants (i.e. deviant and normal cases) should be encouraged.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)180-187
Number of pages8
JournalReproductive Toxicology
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2018

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