phenylbutazone, Butazolidine

  • Pharmacy Author:
    Eni Williams, PharmD, PhD

    Dr. Eni Williams graduated from Creighton University in 1988 with a B.S. degree in pharmacy and a Doctor of Pharmacy from Howard University in 1994. She also obtained a Ph.D. in Public Policy in 2009 at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

  • Medical and Pharmacy Editor: Jay W. Marks, MD
    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD, is a board-certified internist and gastroenterologist. He graduated from Yale University School of Medicine and trained in internal medicine and gastroenterology at UCLA/Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

What is phenylbutazone, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?

Phenylbutazone has been removed from the United States market due to the availability of newer drugs with less adverse effects. 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 of NSAIDs for any given condition. However, because of a unique risk of bone marrow suppression (causing dangerously low white blood counts), phenylbutazone is generally reserved only for short-term use in selected patients.

What brand names are available for phenylbutazone?

Butazolidine

Is phenylbutazone available as a generic drug?

GENERIC AVAILABLE: yes

Do I need a prescription for phenylbutazone?

yes

What are the side effects of phenylbutazone?

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.

Other important side effects include:

  • ulcerations,
  • abdominal burning,
  • pain,
  • cramping,
  • nausea,
  • gastritis,
  • 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).

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/28/2015

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