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Probenecid Side Effects

For the Consumer

Applies to probenecid: oral tablet

As well as its needed effects, probenecid may cause unwanted side effects that require medical attention.

If any of the following side effects occur while taking probenecid, check with your doctor immediately:

  • Fast or irregular breathing
  • puffiness or swellings of the eyelids or around the eyes
  • shortness of breath, troubled breathing, tightness in chest, or wheezing
  • changes in the skin color of the face occurring together with any of the other side effects listed here
  • or skin rash, hives, or itching occurring together with any of the other side effects listed here

If any of the following side effects occur while taking probenecid, check with your doctor or nurse as soon as possible:

Less common
  • Bloody urine
  • difficult or painful urination
  • lower back or side pain (especially if severe or sharp)
  • skin rash, hives, or itching (occurring without other signs of an allergic reaction)
  • Cloudy urine
  • cough or hoarseness
  • fast or irregular breathing
  • fever
  • pain in back and/or ribs
  • sores, ulcers, or white spots on lips or in mouth
  • sore throat and fever with or without chills
  • sudden decrease in the amount of urine
  • swelling of face, fingers, feet, and/or lower legs
  • swollen and/or painful glands
  • unusual bleeding or bruising
  • unusual tiredness or weakness
  • yellow eyes or skin
  • weight gain

Some probenecid side effects may not need any medical attention. As your body gets used to the medicine these side effects may disappear. Your health care professional may be able to help you prevent or reduce these side effects, but do check with them if any of the following side effects continue, or if you are concerned about them:

More common
  • Headache
  • joint pain, redness, or swelling
  • loss of appetite
  • nausea or vomiting (mild)
Less common
  • Dizziness
  • flushing or redness of face (occurring without any signs of an allergic reaction)
  • frequent urge to urinate
  • sore gums

For Healthcare Professionals

Applies to probenecid: oral tablet


In therapeutic doses, probenecid is generally well tolerated and has a low incidence of side effects.

An increase in acute attacks of gout may occur on initiation of probenecid therapy. The concomitant administration of colchicine or a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agent, where appropriate, may decrease the risk of this complication.[Ref]


Renal side effects have included renal colic, nephrotic syndrome, with or without renal failure, and urinary frequency. In addition, increased concentrations of uric acid in the renal tubules, due to probenecid therapy, may promote development of uric acid stones.[Ref]

Adequate hydration, to result in urine output of 2 liters per day, if possible, and alkalinization of the urine may reduce the risk of stone formation.[Ref]


Hypersensitivity side effects have included rash, pruritus, fever, urticaria, and anaphylaxis.[Ref]

Hypersensitivity reactions may be severe. It has been reported that the risk of severe allergic reactions may be increased in patients previously treated with probenecid. In these cases, onset of hypersensitivity reactions is within several hours after reintroduction of probenecid therapy.[Ref]


Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G-6-PD) deficiency may increase the risk of probenecid-induced hemolytic anemia in some patients. However, probenecid has also been implicated in at least two cases of immune-mediated hemolytic anemia. In both cases, serum antibodies reacted with red blood cells only in the presence of probenecid. In one patient, a generalized rash, fever, malaise, and anorexia were also present.[Ref]

Hematologic side effects have rarely included hemolytic anemia, aplastic anemia, leukopenia, and anemia.[Ref]


Hepatic side effects have included hepatic necrosis.[Ref]


Gastrointestinal side effects have included anorexia, nausea, sore gums, and vomiting.[Ref]

Nervous system

Nervous system side effects have included headache and dizziness.[Ref]


Dermatologic side effects including dermatitis, alopecia, and flushing have been reported.[Ref]


Genitourinary side effects including costovertebral pain have been reported.[Ref]


1. "Product Information. ColBENEMID (probenecid)." Merck & Co, Inc, West Point, PA.

2. "Product Information. Benemid (probenecid)." Merck & Co, Inc, West Point, PA.

3. Gutman AB "Uricosuric drugs with special reference to probenecid and sulfinpyrazone." Adv Pharmacol 4 (1966): 91-142

4. Scott JT, O'Brien PK "Probenecid, nephrotic syndrome, and renal failure." Ann Rheum Dis 27 (1968): 249-52

5. Hertz P, Yager H, Richardson JA "Probenecid-induced nephrotic syndrome." Arch Pathol 94 (1972): 241-3

6. Myers KW, Katial RK, Engler RJM "Probenecid hypersensitivity in AIDS: a case report." Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol 80 (1998): 416-8

7. Kickler TS, Buck S, Ness P, et al "Probenecid induced immune hemolytic anemia." J Rheumatol 13 (1986): 208-9

8. Sosler SD, Behzad O, Garratty G, et al "Immune hemolytic anemia associated with probenecid." Am J Clin Pathol 84 (1985): 391-4

It is possible that some side effects of probenecid may not have been reported. These can be reported to the FDA here. Always consult a healthcare professional for medical advice.

Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided is accurate, up-to-date and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. In addition, the drug information contained herein may be time sensitive and should not be utilized as a reference resource beyond the date hereof. This material does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients, or recommend therapy. This information is a reference resource designed as supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill , knowledge, and judgement of healthcare practitioners in patient care. The absence of a warning for a given drug or combination thereof in no way should be construed to indicate safety, effectiveness, or appropriateness for any given patient. does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of materials provided. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the substances you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist.