GENERIC NAME: phenylbutazone
BRAND NAME: Butazolidine
DRUG CLASS AND MECHANISM: Phenylbutazone is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) effective in treating fever, pain, and inflammation in the body. As a group, NSAIDs are non-narcotic relievers of mild to moderate pain of many causes, including injury, menstrual cramps, arthritis and other musculoskeletal conditions. Since the response to different NSAIDs varies from patient to patient, it is not unusual for a doctor to try a variety NSAIDs for any given condition. However, because of an unique risk of bone marrow suppression (causing dangerously low white blood counts), phenylbutazone is generally reserved only for short-term use in selected patients.
GENERIC AVAILABLE: yes
PREPARATIONS: Capsules and tablets: 100mg.
STORAGE: Store at room temperature, sealed container, avoid moisture.
DOSING: Should be taken with food.
DRUG INTERACTIONS: Phenylbutazone should be avoided by patients with a history of asthma attacks, hives, or other allergic reactions to aspirin or other NSAIDs. Rare but severe allergic reactions have been reported in such individuals. It also should be avoided by patients with peptic ulcer disease or poor kidney function, since this medication can aggravate both conditions. Phenylbutazone is generally used with caution in patients taking blood thinning medications (anticoagulants), such as warfarin (Coumadin), because of an increased risk of bleeding. Patients taking lithium can develop toxic blood lithium levels. Additionally, patients taking cyclosporine (Sandimmune) can develop kidney toxicity. Use in children has not been adequately studied. Phenylbutazone is not habit forming. NSAIDs should be discontinued prior to elective surgery because of a mild interference with clotting that is characteristic of this group of medicines. Phenylbutazone is best discontinued at least three days in advance of the procedure.
PREGNANCY: Phenylbutazone is generally avoided during pregnancy.
NURSING MOTHERS: Phenylbutazone is generally avoided in nursing mothers.
SIDE EFFECTS: Most patients benefit from NSAIDs with little side effects. However, serious side effects can occur, and generally tend to be dose related. Phenylbutazone is not a commonly used NSAID because of a unique potential for severe bone marrow toxicity, which results in dangerously low white blood cell counts. Therefore, it is often desirable to use the lowest effective dose to minimize side effects. The most common side effects of phenylbutazone involve the gastrointestinal system. It can also cause ulcerations, abdominal burning, pain, cramping, nausea, gastritis, and even serious gastrointestinal bleeding and liver toxicity. Sometimes, stomach ulceration and bleeding can occur without any abdominal pain. Black tarry stools, weakness, and dizziness upon standing may be the only signs of internal bleeding. Rash, kidney impairment, ringing in the ears, and lightheadedness are also seen (all more frequently in seniors).
Reference: FDA Prescribing Information
Last Editorial Review: 12/31/1997
Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
Need help identifying pills and medications?
Back to Medications Index