A very old drug used to prevent gout may have impressive power to protect the heart. Allopurinol, also sold under the brand name Zyloprim, has been used for more than four decades to lower uric acid levels in the blood. Excessive amounts of uric acid can crystallize and cause excruciating joint pain. Allopurinol was tested in a placebo-controlled trial to see how well it protects the heart from exercise-induced angina. Subjects suffered from chronic chest pain. They were given either allopurinol or a placebo pill and were put on a treadmill. Those taking allopurinol walked 25 percent longer than those on placebo. The Scottish investigators point out that allopurinol has a good safety record and is also very inexpensive.
[The Lancet, June 8, 2010]