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Rasburicase for the treatment and prevention of hyperuricemia.

OBJECTIVE: To review the information currently available on rasburicase for treatment and prevention of hyperuricemia.

DATA SOURCES: MEDLINE (1966-August 2002) was searched for primary and review articles.

STUDY SELECTION/DATA EXTRACTION: Studies evaluating rasburicase, including abstracts and proceedings, were considered for inclusion. English-language literature was evaluated for the pharmacology, pharmacodynamics, pharmacokinetics, therapeutic use, and adverse effects of rasburicase.

DATA SYNTHESIS: Rasburicase, a recombinant urate oxidase, has been shown to be effective in lowering uric acid and preventing uric acid accumulation in patients with hematologic malignancies who had hyperuricemia or who were at high risk for developing hyperuricemia. It has been approved for pediatric use in the US.

CONCLUSIONS: In addition to allopurinol, hydration, and urinary alkalinization, rasburicase is a new alternative for the treatment and prevention of hyperuricemia in patients with hematologic malignancies. Its rapid onset of action and the ability to lower preexisting elevated uric acid levels are the advantages of rasburicase compared with allopurinol. It may allow the patient to receive chemotherapy treatment without delay.

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