Worst Pills, Best Pills

An expert, independent second opinion on more than 1,800 prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, and supplements

Drug Profile

The information on this site is intended to supplement and enhance, not replace, the advice of a physician who is familiar with your medical history. Decisions about your health should always be made ONLY after detailed conversation with your doctor.

Limited Use [what does this mean?]
Generic drug name: probenecid (proe BEN e sid)
Brand name(s): PROBALAN
GENERIC: available FAMILY: Drugs for Arthritis and Gout
Find the drug label by searching at DailyMed.

Pregnancy and Breast-feeding Warnings [top]

Pregnancy Warning

Probenecid crosses the placenta exposing the fetus to the drug. Use during pregnancy only for clear medical reasons. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant before you take this drug.

Breast-feeding Warning

No information is available from either human or animal studies. Since it is likely that this drug, like many others, is excreted in human milk, you should consult with your doctor if you are planning to nurse.

Facts About This Drug [top]

Probenecid helps to prevent gout attacks. Gout occurs when you have high levels of uric acid in your body, and an attack occurs when crystals of uric acid form in your joints and your body releases chemicals in response to the crystals. This causes pain and inflammation. Probenecid works by causing more uric acid to leave your body through the kidneys, thereby lowering the level of uric acid in your blood.

Probenecid will not relieve a gout attack that has already started. If you are...

Probenecid helps to prevent gout attacks. Gout occurs when you have high levels of uric acid in your body, and an attack occurs when crystals of uric acid form in your joints and your body releases chemicals in response to the crystals. This causes pain and inflammation. Probenecid works by causing more uric acid to leave your body through the kidneys, thereby lowering the level of uric acid in your blood.

Probenecid will not relieve a gout attack that has already started. If you are taking probenecid, keep taking it during an attack, even if another drug is prescribed to treat the attack.

After you start using probenecid, you may still have gout attacks for a while. Keep taking the drug. If you take it regularly, the attacks gradually will become less frequent and less painful, and they may stop completely after several months.

Probenecid can increase your risk of getting kidney stones. To help prevent kidney stones while using probenecid, drink at least 10 to 12 full glasses (eight ounces each) of fluid each day, unless your doctor tells you otherwise. Too much vitamin C also increases your risk of kidney stones, so do not take vitamin C supplements while taking probenecid unless you have checked with your doctor.

Before You Use This Drug [top]

Tell your doctor if you have or have had:

  • allergies to drugs
  • kidney problems
  • kidney stones
  • blood disease
  • stomach ulcer
  • cancer treated by antineoplastics or radiation
  • pregnancy or breast-feeding

Tell your doctor about any other drugs you take, including aspirin, herbs, vitamins, and other nonprescription products.

When You Use This Drug [top]

  • Do not take aspirin and other drugs in its family (Salicylates and Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs [NSAIDs]) because they may make probenecid less effective.
  • Do not drink alcohol. Alcohol increases the amount of uric acid in your blood and it may make your gout attacks more frequent and more difficult to control. It also increases the likelihood of stomach problems.
  • Caution diabetics: Probenecid may cause false results in copper sulfate urine sugar tests (Clinitest). It will not interfere with glucose enzymatic urine sugar tests (Clinistix).

How to Use This Drug [top]

  • If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember, but skip it if it’s almost time for your next dose. Do not take double doses.
  • Do not share your medication with others.
  • Take the drug at the same time(s) each day.
  • Take with food to decrease stomach upset. If this does not work and your stomach continues to be upset, check with your doctor.
  • Store at room temperature with lid on tightly. Do not store in the bathroom. Do not expose to heat, moisture, or strong light. Keep out of reach of children.

Interactions with Other Drugs [top]

The following drugs, biologics (e.g., vaccines, therapeutic antibodies), or foods are listed in Evaluations of Drug Interactions 2003 as causing “highly clinically significant” or “clinically significant” interactions when used together with any of the drugs in this section. In some sections with multiple drugs, the interaction may have been reported for one but not all drugs in this section, but we include the interaction because the drugs in this section are similar to one another. We have also included potentially serious interactions listed in the drug’s FDA-approved professional package insert or in published medical journal articles. There may be other drugs, especially those in the families of drugs listed below, that also will react with this drug to cause severe adverse effects. Make sure to tell your doctor and pharmacist the drugs you are taking and tell them if you are taking any of these interacting drugs:

aspirin, cephalothin, CYTOVENE, DILOR, dyphylline, ECOTRIN, ganciclovir, GENUINE BAYER ASPIRIN, INDOCIN, indomethacin, KEFLIN, ketorolac, LUFYLLIN, meropenem, MERREM, methotrexate, RETROVIR, TORADOL, TREXALL DOSE PACK, zidovudine (AZT).

Probenecid will increase the blood levels of certain antibiotics. Sometimes this is done therapeutically but it can also increase the risk of adverse drug reactions.

Adverse Effects [top]

Call your doctor immediately if you experience:

  • bloody or cloudy urine
  • difficult or painful urination
  • back or rib pain
  • difficulty breathing
  • unusual weight gain
  • swelling of feet, legs, fingers, or face
  • sore throat and fever
  • unusual bleeding or bruising
  • unusual tiredness or weakness
  • decrease in amount of urine
  • yellow eyes or skin
  • cough or hoarseness
  • sores, ulcers, or white spots on lips or mouth
  • swollen and/or painful glands

Call your doctor if these symptoms continue:

  • headache
  • joint pain, redness, or swelling
  • loss of appetite
  • nausea or vomiting
  • dizziness
  • flushing or redness of face
  • frequent urge to urinate
  • sore gums

Signs of overdose:

  • convulsions
  • severe vomiting
  • trouble breathing
  • puffiness or swelling of eyelids
  • changes in facial skin color, skin rash, hives, or itching

If you suspect an overdose, call this number to contact your poison control center: (800) 222-1222.

Periodic Tests[top]

Ask your doctor which of these tests should be done periodically while you are taking this drug:

  • blood and urine levels of uric acid

last reviewed February 28, 2021