Allopurinol (4-hydroxypyrazolo (3,4-d)-pyrimidine) is a potent xanthine oxidase inhibitor which inhibits the oxidation of naturally occurring oxypurines, thus decreasing uric acid formation. The clinical and metabolic effects of this agent were studied in 80 subjects with primary and secondary gout and other disorders of uric acid metabolism. Allopurinol has been universally successful in lowering the serum uric acid concentration and uric acid excretion to normal levels, while not significantly affecting the clearance of urate or other aspects of renal function. Oxypurine excretion increased concomitantly with the fall in urine uric acid. The agent is particularly valuable in the management of problems of gout with azotemia, acute uric acid nephropathy and uric acid urolithiasis. The minor side effects, clinical indications and theoretical complications are discussed.