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Open Access Case report

Allopurinol use in pregnancy in three women with inflammatory bowel disease: safety and outcomes: a case series

Muhammad W Fazal1*, Matt P Doogue2, Rupert W Leong3, Peter A Bampton4 and Jane M Andrews5

Author Affiliations

1 Internal Medicine Service, Royal Adelaide Hospital, Adelaide, SA 5000, Australia

2 Endocrinology/Clinical Pharmacology, Flinders University School of Medicine and Flinders Medical Centre, Bedford Park, SA 5042, Australia

3 Gastroenterology and Liver Services, Sydney Local Health District, Concord Hospital, Sydney, NSW 2139, Australia

4 Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Flinders Medical Centre, Bedford Park, SA 5042, Australia

5 IBD Service, Department of Gastroenterology & Hepatology and School of Medicine at Royal Adelaide Hospital, Adelaide, SA 5000, Australia

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BMC Gastroenterology 2013, 13:172  doi:10.1186/1471-230X-13-172

Published: 17 December 2013



Allopurinol is a frequently prescribed drug. In inflammatory bowel disease patients who shunt thiopurine metabolism towards more toxic and less desirable pathways, allopurinol is proving to be an effective add on therapy with good resultant disease control and less treatment side effects. As many such patients are young, the potential for pregnant women to be exposed to allopurinol is increasing. The safety of allopurinol in pregnancy is not known however.

Case presentation

We report three cases of safe use of allopurinol in pregnancy for women with inflammatory bowel disease. This included 2 patients with ulcerative colitis and 1 patient with fistulising Crohn’s disease. Allopurinol was used throughout pregnancy in all patients. All 3 pregnancies resulted in normal healthy babies born at term by Caesarean section.


It is important to evaluate and document the safety of allopurinol during pregnancy, as it is finding new roles in young patients. These three cases add significantly to the very limited data on allopurinol use in pregnancy. We encourage reporting of all cases of allopurinol use in pregnant patients and suggest an allopurinol pregnancy registry to document drug exposures and outcomes.

Allopurinol; Pregnancy; Teratogen; Inflammatory bowel disease; Ulcerative colitis; Azathioprine; 6-mercaptopurine