To identify gaps in therapy with urate-lowering drugs for the treatment of gout as well as factors associated with resuming therapy.
We identified persons from two integrated delivery systems 18 years or older with a diagnosis of gout who initiated use of a urate-lowering drug from January 1, 2000 through June 30, 2006 and who had a gap in therapy. A gap was defined as a period of over 60 days after the completion of one prescription in which no refill for a urate-lowering drug was obtained. Survival curves were used to assess return to therapy of urate-lowering drugs. Cox proportional hazards analysis estimated the association between covariates and return to therapy.
There were 4,166 new users of urate-lowering drugs (97% received allopurinol) of whom 2,929 (70%) had a gap in therapy. Among those with a gap, in 75% it occurred in the first year of therapy. Fifty percent of patients with a gap returned to therapy within 8 months, and by 4 years it was 75%. Age 45 to 74 (<45 referent) and greater duration of urate-lowering drug use prior to the gap was associated with resuming treatment within one year. In contrast, receipt of NSAIDs or glucocorticoids in the year prior to the gap was associated with a reduced likelihood of resuming therapy.
The majority of gout patients with gaps in urate-lowering drug use returned to treatment. More investigation is needed to better understand why patients may go for months without refilling prescriptions given the clinical consequences of nonadherence.
persistence; adherence; compliance; gout; urate lowering drugs
Little is known about the characteristics, evaluation and treatment of women with gout.
To examine the epidemiological differences and differences in treatment between men and women in a large patient population.
The data from approximately 1.4 million people who were members of seven managed care plans in the USA for at least 1 year between 1 January 1999 and 31 December 2003 were examined. Adult members who had pharmacy benefits and at least two ambulatory claims specifying a diagnosis of gout were identified. In addition, men and women who were new users of urate‐lowering drugs (ULDs) were identified to assess adherence with recommended surveillance of serum urate levels within 6 months of initiating urate‐lowering treatment.
A total of 6133 people (4975 men and 1158 women) with two or more International Classification of Disease‐9 codes for gout were identified. As compared with men with gout, women were older (mean age 70 (SD 13) v 58 (SD 14), p<0.001) and had comorbidities and received diuretics more often (77% v 40%; p<0.001). Only 37% of new users of urate‐lowering treatment had appropriate surveillance of serum urate levels post‐initiation of urate‐lowering treatment. After controlling for age, comorbidities, gout treatments, number of ULD dispensings and health plan, women were more likely (odds ratio 1.36, 95% confidence interval 1.11 to 1.67) to receive the recommended serum urate level testing.
Women with gout were older, had greater comorbidities and more often used diuretics and received appropriate surveillance of serum urate levels, suggesting that the factors leading to gout as well as monitoring of treatment are very different in women and men.
We sought to examine patients’ and providers’ views on the treatment of gout to better understand why management is suboptimal.
In-depth telephone interviews were conducted with gout patients (n=26) who initiated treatment with a urate-lowering drug (ULD) in the prior 6 months and with providers who care for gout patients (n=15). The interviews were audiotaped and transcribed verbatim. Using qualitative methods, results were analyzed and themes were identified. Interviews focused on the acute management, chronic management, and prevention and improvement strategies.
Providers viewed the majority of patients as having excellent relief with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories, colchicine and glucocorticoids while some patients felt these medications were ineffective. Providers felt most patients had a good understanding of the rationale for ULD therapy and that patients responded well. Some patients felt ULDs triggered, worsened or had no impact on their disease. Most providers thought medication adherence was relatively good. Some patients reported discontinuing medications. Discontinuations were largely purposeful and due to clinical or financial concerns. Most providers thought their skills adequate to teach disease self-management behaviors. Patients requested more information and longer visit times.
Providers view gout as easily managed while patients report challenges and purposeful nonadherence.
medication use; gout treatment; medication adherence; qualitative
Gout recently passed rheumatoid arthritis to become the most common inflammatory arthritis in the United States (US). However, epidemiologic studies indicate that the quality of gout management is suboptimal owing to both patient and physician issues. Only three options for urate-lowering therapy are currently available in the US: allopurinol, probenecid, and recently, febuxostat. Probenecid is generally safe except for the occurrence of urolithiasis, but is only effective for the subset of patients with better kidney function. Allopurinol use is limited due to its side effects, potential toxicity of uncertain magnitude in patients with renal disease, and failure to achieve targeted serum urate levels. In part this failure may be due to the necessity for it to be titrated for optimal therapeutic effect. Febuxostat is a new medication that may offer several advantages and can be given as an alternative to allopurinol. We review the basic biology and clinical performance of febuxostat, and consider the potential utility of this agent in comparison to the older, better-established gout therapeutics.
allopurinol; gout suppressants; nephrolithiasis; uric acid; urolithiasis
Limited literature exists for qualitative studies of medication adherence in gout, especially in African-Americans. The aim of this study was to examine the facilitators and barriers to adherence to urate-lowering therapy (ULT) in African-Americans with gout.
In this study, nine nominal groups lasting 1 to 1.5 hours each were conducted in African-Americans with gout, six with low ULT and three with high ULT adherence (medication possession ratios of <0.80 or ≥0.80, respectively). Patients presented, discussed, combined and rank ordered their concerns. A qualitative analysis was performed.
This study included 43 patients with mean age 63.9 years (standard deviation, 9.9), 67% men, who participated in nine nominal groups (seven in men, two in women): African-American men (n = 30); African-American women (n = 13). The main facilitators to ULT adherence (three groups) were the recognition of the need to take ULT regularly to prevent gout flares, prevent pain from becoming chronic/severe and to have less dietary restriction; the lack of side effects from ULT; trust in physicians; and avoiding the need to seek emergent/urgent care for flares. Patients achieved high ULT adherence by organizing their pills using the pillbox and the incorporation of ULT intake into their routine to prevent forgetting. The main barriers to optimal ULT adherence were (six groups): doubts about effectiveness of ULT, concerns about cost and side effects, concomitant medications, forgetfulness, refilling the prescriptions on time, pill size and difficulty in swallowing, competing priorities, patient preference for alternative medicines (that is, cherry juice) and frequent travel.
Identification of facilitators and barriers to high ULT adherence in African-Americans with gout in this study lays the foundation for designing interventions to improve ULT adherence in racial minorities.
The incidence of gout rises with increasing age. Management of elderly (≥65 years) gout patients can be challenging due to high rates of comorbidities, such as renal impairment and cardiovascular disease, and concomitant medication use. However, there is little data specifically addressing the efficacy and safety of available urate-lowering therapies (ULT) in the elderly. The objective of this post hoc analysis was to examine the efficacy and safety of ULT with febuxostat or allopurinol in a subset of elderly subjects enrolled in the CONFIRMS trial.
Hyperuricemic (serum urate [sUA] levels ≥ 8.0 mg/dL) gout subjects were enrolled in the 6-month, double-blind, randomized, comparative CONFIRMS trial and randomized, 1:1:1, to receive febuxostat, 40 mg or 80 mg, or allopurinol (200 mg or 300 mg based on renal function) once daily. Flare prophylaxis was provided throughout the study duration.
Study endpoints were the percent of elderly subjects with sUA <6.0 mg/dL at the final visit, overall and by renal function status, percent change in sUA from baseline to final visit, flare rates, and rates of adverse events (AEs).
Of 2,269 subjects enrolled, 374 were elderly. Febuxostat 80 mg was significantly more efficacious (82.0%) than febuxostat 40 mg (61.7%; p < 0.001) or allopurinol (47.3%; p < 0.001) for achieving the primary efficacy endpoint. Febuxostat 40 mg was also superior to allopurinol in this population (p = 0.029). In subjects with mild-to-moderate renal impairment, significantly greater ULT efficacy was observed with febuxostat 40 mg (61.6%; p = 0.028) and febuxostat 80 mg (82.5%; p < 0.001) compared to allopurinol 200/300 mg (46.9%). Compared to allopurinol 200/300 mg, the mean percent change in sUA from baseline was significantly greater for both febuxostat 80 mg (p < 0.001) and febuxostat 40 mg (p = 0.011) groups. Flare rates declined steadily in all treatment groups. Rates of AEs were low and comparable across treatments.
These data suggest that either dose of febuxostat is superior to commonly prescribed fixed doses of allopurinol (200/300 mg) in subjects ≥65 years of age with high rates of renal dysfunction. In addition, in this high-risk population, ULT with either drug was well tolerated.
Febuxostat is a novel, potent, non-purine selective xanthine oxidase inhibitor, which in clinical trials demonstrated superior ability to lower and maintain serum urate levels below 6 mg/dL compared with conventionally used doses of allopurinol. Febuxostat was well tolerated in long term treatment in patients with hyperuricemia including those experiencing hypersensitity/intolerance to allopurinol. Dose adjustment appears unnecessary in patients with mild to moderate renal or liver insufficiency or advanced age. The most common adverse reactions reported were abnormal liver function tests, headache, and gastrointestinal symptoms, which were usually mild and transient. However, whether hepatotoxicity becomes a limitation in the use of febuxostat needs to be determined in further studies. An increased frequency of gout flares occurs for a prolonged period after treatment initiation, as with any aggressive lowering of serum urate, and prolonged prophylaxis with colchicine or NSAIDs is usually required. Febuxostat has been granted marketing authorization by the European Commission in early 2008 for the treatment of chronic hyperuricemia and gout. Febuxostat is the first major treatment alternative for gout in more than 40 years and is a promising alternative to allopurinol, although continued long-term surveillance on safety and efficacy is required.
febuxostat; TEI-6720; TMX-67; gout; hyperuricemia; xanthine oxidase inhibitor
Objective. To profile a sample of gouty patients treated with allopurinol, benzbromarone, or a combination of these two drugs and to describe the impact of this therapy in reducing uric acid levels. Methods. An observational, transversal study was performed. We evaluated 48 patients diagnosed with gout who were seen at the Outpatient Rheumatology Clinic of the Federal University of Paraná between January 2009 and November 2010. Clinical data, creatinine serum levels, and basal and posttreatment levels of serum urates, transaminases, and bilirubins were recorded. Uric acid levels were measured in a 24-hour urine sample. Patients were divided into three groups: patients given only allopurinol (A), only benzbromarone (B), and both in combined therapy (A + B). Results. The average age of these patients was 56.6 ± 11.4 years, varying from 35 to 81 years. The entire patient group experienced a significant drop in serum urate levels, from 8.5 ± 1.8 mg/dL (0.472 ± 0.1 mmol/L) to 6.7 ± 2.1 mg/dL (0.372 ± 0.116 mmol/L) (P < 0.001), regardless of the prescribed medication. The number of patients taking both drugs whose serum uric acid values fell within normal range (men <7 mg/dL (0.38 mmol/L) and women <6 mg/dL (0.33 mmol/L)) was 85.7% (6/7) while this value for the group taking benzbromarone alone was 75% (3/4) and for the group taking allopurinol alone this number was 51.8% (14/27). Conclusions. The therapeutic combination of benzbromarone and allopurinol significantly decreased serum urate levels in patients with gout when compared to individual use of each of these agents. This finding is especially important in treating patients who cannot control hyperuricemia with monotherapy. Benzbromarone alone or in combination with allopurinol has an important clinical role in controlling hyperuricemia in patients with gout.
To assess concordance of the management of chronic gout in UK primary care with the European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) gout recommendations.
A postal questionnaire was sent to all adults aged >30 years registered with two general practices. Patients with possible gout attended for clinical assessment, at which the diagnosis was verified clinically. Aspects of chronic gout management, including provision of lifestyle modification advice, use of urate‐lowering therapies (ULT) including dose titration to serum urate (SUA) level, prophylaxis against acute attacks, and diuretic cessation were assessed in accordance with the EULAR recommendations.
Of 4249 (32%) completed questionnaires returned, 488 reported gout or acute attacks and were invited for clinical assessment. Of 359 attendees, 164 clinically confirmed cases of gout were identified. Advice regarding alcohol consumption was recalled by 59 (41%), weight loss by 36 (25%) and diet by 42 (29%). Allopurinol was the only ULT used and was taken by 44 (30%); 31 (70%) were taking 300 mg daily. Mean SUA was lower in allopurinol users than non‐users (318 vs 434 μmol/l) and was less often >360 μmol/l in allopurinol users (23% vs 75%). Eight patients had recently commenced allopurinol; two of these also were taking prophylactic colchicine or non‐steroidal anti‐inflammatory drugs. Of 25 patients with diuretic‐induced gout, 16 (64%) were still taking a diuretic.
Treatment of chronic gout is often suboptimal and poorly concordant with EULAR recommendations. Lifestyle advice is infrequently offered, and allopurinol is restricted to a minority. Persistent hyperuricaemia was often seen in allopurinol non‐users, but was also in allopurinol users, suggesting that doses >300 mg are often necessary.
gout; primary health care; lifestyle risk reduction; allopurinol; EULAR recommendations
Gout affects 8.3 million Americans according to NHANES 2007–2008, roughly 3.9% of the U.S. population. Gout has significant impact on physical function, productivity, health-related quality of life (HRQOL) and health care costs. Uncontrolled gout is also associated with significant utilization of emergent care services. Women are less likely to have gout than men, but in the postmenopausal years the gender difference in disease incidence decreases. Compared to Whites, racial/ethnic minorities, especially blacks, have higher prevalence of gout. On the other hand, blacks are less likely to receive quality gout care, leading to a disproportionate morbidity. Women are less likely than men to receive allopurinol, less likely to get joint aspirations for crystal analyses for establishing diagnosis, but those on urate-lowering therapy are as/more likely as men to get serum urate check within 6-months of initiation. While a few studies provide the knowledge related to gender and race/ethnicity disparities in gout, several knowledge gaps exist in gout epidemiology and outcomes differences by gender and race/ethnicity. These should be explored in future studies.
Gout; Hyperuricemia; Race; Ethnicity; Gender; Disparity; Epidemiology; Prevalence; Genetic risk factors; Adverse effects
To determine the relevance of current gout Quality indicators (QIs).
Members of the Veterans Affairs Rheumatology Consortium were invited to participate in an online survey and provide opinions (rank 0–10) regarding existing gout QIs. Opinions sought on each QI were 1) relevance to United States Veterans, 2) likelihood to improve gout care, and 3) ease of electronic capture. Participants were also asked to rank their top 3 gout QIs.
Participating VA rheumatologists were mainly male, of mean age 51.3 years and experienced in the management of gout. All 10 gout QIs were considered relevant, with a score of 8.2 of higher. The initiation of urate lowering therapy, monitoring of urate levels after initiation of urate lowering therapy, and treatment of acute gout with anti-inflammatory agents scored the highest with regards to likely to improving gout care, with the first 2 QIs also felt to be most relevant. Adjustment of initial allopurinol dosing in patients with renal impairment and in those receiving concurrent azathioprine/6-mercaptopurine were perceived as the QIs most amenable to electronic capture. The top ranked QIs were initiation of urate-lowering therapy with frequent gout attacks, serum urate monitoring after initiation of urate lowering therapy and adjustment of initial allopurinol dose to renal function.
In a national survey of VA rheumatologists, most gout QIs were thought to be highly relevant. QIs related to initiation of urate lowering therapy, serum urate monitoring, and initial dosing of allopurinol were ranked the most important for veterans with gout.
Quality Indicators; Gout; Veterans Affairs
This is a case report of a patient with treatment resistant gout who was prescribed pegloticase and developed a severe reaction. A 30-year-old Hawaiian-Filipino man presented with a nine-year history of gout that progressed from episodic monoarticular arthritis, treated with aspiration and corticosteroid injections, to more aggressive disease with more frequent attacks requiring escalation of therapy. He was treated with systemic corticosteroids, colchicine and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, but then required allopurinol. Despite aggressive therapy, the patient continued to have hyperuricemia and tophi developed even after treatment with febuxostat and probenicid. The patient became wheel chair bound due to his pain and, at that point, the decision was made to initiate treatment with pegloticase. The patient initially experienced significant improvement with treatment; however, he soon began to have elevation in his serum uric acid levels and developed a severe reaction during treatment.
pegloticase; tophi; treatment resistant gout; infusion reaction
To develop evidence based recommendations for the management of gout.
The multidisciplinary guideline development group comprised 19 rheumatologists and one evidence based medicine expert representing 13 European countries. Key propositions on management were generated using a Delphi consensus approach. Research evidence was searched systematically for each proposition. Where possible, effect size (ES), number needed to treat, relative risk, odds ratio, and incremental cost‐effectiveness ratio were calculated. The quality of evidence was categorised according to the level of evidence. The strength of recommendation (SOR) was assessed using the EULAR visual analogue and ordinal scales.
12 key propositions were generated after three Delphi rounds. Propositions included both non‐pharmacological and pharmacological treatments and addressed symptomatic control of acute gout, urate lowering therapy (ULT), and prophylaxis of acute attacks. The importance of patient education, modification of adverse lifestyle (weight loss if obese; reduced alcohol consumption; low animal purine diet) and treatment of associated comorbidity and risk factors were emphasised. Recommended drugs for acute attacks were oral non‐steroidal anti‐inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), oral colchicine (ES = 0.87 (95% confidence interval, 0.25 to 1.50)), or joint aspiration and injection of corticosteroid. ULT is indicated in patients with recurrent acute attacks, arthropathy, tophi, or radiographic changes of gout. Allopurinol was confirmed as effective long term ULT (ES = 1.39 (0.78 to 2.01)). If allopurinol toxicity occurs, options include other xanthine oxidase inhibitors, allopurinol desensitisation, or a uricosuric. The uricosuric benzbromarone is more effective than allopurinol (ES = 1.50 (0.76 to 2.24)) and can be used in patients with mild to moderate renal insufficiency but may be hepatotoxic. When gout is associated with the use of diuretics, the diuretic should be stopped if possible. For prophylaxis against acute attacks, either colchicine 0.5–1 mg daily or an NSAID (with gastroprotection if indicated) are recommended.
12 key recommendations for management of gout were developed, using a combination of research based evidence and expert consensus. The evidence was evaluated and the SOR provided for each proposition.
EULAR; gout; guidelines; treatment
Gout is usually thought of as a peripheral joint disease. However, case reports are available describing gouty lesions in the spine. We report a case of a 51 year old African American woman with no previous history of gout who presented with lower back pain and fever and was found to have multiple small fluid collections in the paraspinal muscles at the L3 to L5 levels on the MRI. She was empirically treated with antibiotics, since the fluid was not accessible for drainage initially. Unsuccessful antibiotic therapy and an episode of peripheral gout during this hospitalization prompted the diagnosis of axial gout as the cause for the paraspinal lesions in this patient. CT guided aspiration of the paraspinal lesions confirmed monosodium urate (gout) crystals under polarized microscopy.
Axial gout; spinal lesions; paraspinal abscess; uric acid
Aim Assess influences of demographics and co-morbidities of gout patients with or without diabetes on safety and efficacy of urate-lowering agents.
Methods Post-hoc analysis of 312 diabetic and 1957 non-diabetic gout patients [baseline serum urate levels (sUA) ≥8.0 mg/dl] enrolled in a 6-month randomized controlled trial comparing urate-lowering efficacy (ULE) and safety of daily xanthine oxidase inhibitors (XOIs) febuxostat (40 mg or 80 mg) and allopurinol (200 mg or 300 mg). We compared baseline demographic, gout and co-morbid characteristics, ULE, and safety of XOI treatment in diabetic and non-diabetic gout patients. ULE was measured by the proportion of diabetic and non-diabetic patients in each treatment group achieving final visit sUA < 6.0 mg/dl. Safety was monitored throughout the trial.
Results Diabetic gout patients were older, more frequently female, and had longer gout duration. Co-morbidities were more frequent among diabetic patients: cardiovascular disease; impaired renal function; hyperlipidemia; and obesity (body mass index >30 kg/m2) (p < 0.001 for all comparisons). Febuxostat 80 mg ULE exceeded that of febuxostat 40 mg or allopurinol (p < 0.050) at all levels of renal function, achieving sUA goal range in the majority of diabetic and non-diabetic patients. Diabetics and non-diabetics reported self-limiting diarrhoea and URIs as the most common adverse events.
Conclusions Despite higher co-morbidity rates in diabetic patients, febuxostat and allopurinol were safe in both groups at the doses tested. Febuxostat 80 mg achieved sUA <6.0 mg/dl more often than febuxostat 40 mg or allopurinol at commonly prescribed doses.
clinical trial; diabetes mellitus; drug utilisation
In a previous issue of the journal, Becker and colleagues present efficacy and safety data from a large study comparing febuxostat to allopurinol. The study showed non-inferiority of febuxostat 40 mg/day in lowering serum urate compared to allopurinol 200 to 300 mg/day. More importantly, the study showed a similar frequency of important cardiovascular adverse events (cardiovascular death, nonfatal myocardial infarction and nonfatal stroke) for febuxostat 40 mg/day (0%), febuxostat 80 mg/day (0.4%) and allopurinol groups (0.4%). Other cardiac adverse event rates (unstable angina, coronary revascularization, cerebral revascularization, transient ischemic attack, venous and peripheral arterial vascular thrombotic event, congestive heart failure, and arrhythmia) were also similar for febuxostat 40 mg/day (1.3%), febuxostat 80 mg/day (1.2%) and allopurinol groups (0.9%). A meta-analysis of safety data from published studies is presented.
African Americans are twice as likely as Caucasians to develop gout, but they are less likely to be treated with urate-lowering therapy (ULT). Furthermore, African Americans typically present with more comorbidities associated with gout, such as hypertension, obesity, and renal impairment. We determined the efficacy and safety of ULT with febuxostat or allopurinol in African American subjects with gout and associated comorbidities and in comparison to Caucasian gout subjects.
This is a secondary analysis of the 6-month Phase 3 CONFIRMS trial. Eligible gouty subjects with baseline serum urate (sUA) ≥ 8.0 mg/dL were randomized 1:1:1 to receive febuxostat 40 mg, febuxostat 80 mg, or allopurinol (300 mg or 200 mg depending on renal function) daily. All subjects received gout flare prophylaxis. Primary efficacy endpoint was the proportion of subjects in each treatment group with sUA < 6.0 mg/dL at the final visit. Additional endpoints included the proportion of subjects with mild or with moderate renal impairment who achieved a target sUA < 6.0 mg/dL at final visit. Adverse events (AEs) were recorded throughout the study.
Of the 2,269 subjects enrolled, 10.0% were African American and 82.1% were Caucasian. African American subjects were mostly male (89.5%), obese (BMI ≥ 30 kg/m2; 67.1%), with mean baseline sUA of 9.8 mg/dL and mean duration of gout of 10.4 years. The proportions of African American subjects with a baseline history of diabetes, renal impairment, or cardiovascular disease were significantly higher compared to Caucasians (p < 0.001). ULT with febuxostat 80 mg was superior to both febuxostat 40 mg (p < 0.001) and allopurinol (p = 0.004). Febuxostat 40 mg was comparable in efficacy to allopurinol. Significantly more African American subjects with mild or moderate renal impairment achieved sUA < 6.0 mg/dL in the febuxostat 80 group than in either the febuxostat 40 mg or allopurinol group (p < 0.05). Efficacy rates in all treatment groups regardless of renal function were comparable between African American and Caucasian subjects, as were AE rates.
In African American subjects with significant comorbidities, febuxostat 80 mg is significantly more efficacious than either febuxostat 40 mg or allopurinol 200/300 mg. Febuxostat was well tolerated in this African American population.
Please see related article: http://www.biomedcentral.com/1741-7015/10/15
There is a disproportionate burden of gout in African-Americans in the U.S. due to a higher disease prevalence and lower likelihood of receiving urate-lowering therapy (ULT), compared to Caucasians. There is an absence of strong data as to whether the response to ULT differs by race/ethnicity. BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders recently published a secondary analyses of the CONFIRMS trial, a large randomized controlled, double-blind trial of 2,269 gout patients. The authors reported that the likelihood of achieving the primary study efficacy end-point of achieving serum urate < 6 mg/dl was similar between African-Americans and Caucasians, for all three treatment arms (Febuxostat 40 mg and 80 mg and allopurinol 300/200 mg). More importantly, rates were similar in subgroups of patients with mild or moderate renal insufficiency. Adverse event rates were similar, as were the rates of gout flares. These findings constitute a convincing evidence to pursue aggressive ULT in gout patients, regardless of race/ethnicity. This approach will likely help to narrow the documented racial disparities in gout care.
Please see related article: http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2474/13/15
Gout; Disparity; Race; treatment; Febuxostat; Allopurinol; randomized; African-American
Previous studies have shown an association between gout and/or hyperuricemia and a subsequent increase in cardiovascular disease (CVD) outcomes. Allopurinol reduces vascular oxidative stress, ameliorates inflammatory state, improves endothelial function, and prevents atherosclerosis progression. Accordingly, we tested the hypothesis that a positive association between allopurinol therapy in gout patients and future cardiovascular outcomes is present using a population-based matched-cohort study design.
Patients aged ≥40 years with newly diagnosed gout having no pre-existing severe form of CVD were separated into allopurinol (n = 2483) and non-allopurinol (n = 2483) groups after matching for age, gender, index date, diabetes mellitus, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, and atrial fibrillation. The two groups were also balanced in terms of uric acid nephrolithiasis, acute kidney injury, hepatitis, and Charlson comorbidity index.
With a median follow-up time of 5.25 years, the allopurinol group had a modest increase in cardiovascular risk [relative risk, 1.20; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.08–1.34]. A Cox proportional hazard model adjusted for chronic kidney disease, uremia, and gastric ulcer gave a hazard ratio (HR) for cardiovascular outcomes of 1.25 (95% CI, 1.10–1.41) in gout patients receiving allopurinol compared with the non-allopurinol group. In further analysis of patients receiving urate-lowering therapy, the uricosuric agent group (n = 1713) had an adjusted HR of 0.83 (0.73–0.95) for cardiovascular events compared with the allopurinol group.
The current population-based matched-cohort study did not support the association between allopurinol therapy in gout patients with normal risk for cardiovascular sequels and beneficial future cardiovascular outcomes. Several important risk factors for cardiovascular disease, such as smoking, alcohol consumption, body mass index, blood pressure were not obtainable in the current retrospective cohort study, thus could potentially bias the effect estimate.
In the past few decades, gout has increased not only in prevalence, but also in clinical complexity, the latter accentuated in part by a dearth of novel advances in treatments for hyperuricemia and gouty arthritis. Fortunately, recent research reviewed here, much of it founded on elegant translational studies of the past decade, highlights how gout can be better managed with cost-effective, well-established therapies. In addition, the advent of both new urate-lowering and anti-inflammatory drugs, also reviewed here, promises for improved management of refractory gout, including in subjects with co-morbidities such as chronic kidney disease. Effectively delivering improved management of hyperuricemia and gout will require a frame shift in practice patterns, including increased recognition of the implications of refractory disease and frequent noncompliance of patients with gout, and understanding the evidence basis for therapeutic targets in serum urate-lowering and gouty inflammation.
The prevalence of gout is increasing with increased life expectancy. Approximately half of the patients with gout have some degree of renal impairment. If both conditions persistently coexist, and in severe tophaceous gout, in particular, treatment has been difficult. We here report on the case of an 87-year-old woman, who had been suffering from recurrent gouty arthritis over 4 years. Monthly polyarthritis attacks were accompanied by subcutaneous tophi. Serum uric acid levels were constantly above 600 μmol/L (10 mg/dL). Allopurinol was no option because of intolerance, while benzbromarone was ineffective because of renal impairment. Therefore, the novel xanthin oxidase inhibitor febuxostat was started, achieving rapid control of serum urate levels (<360 μmol/L). After initial worsening of inflammation in the first weeks, gouty attacks stopped and all tophi resolved within the following 10 months. Renal function remained stable.
First-line therapy of hypertension includes diuretics, known to exert a multiplicative increase on the risk of gout. Detailed insight into the underlying prevalence of hyperuricemia and gout in persons with uncontrolled blood pressure (BP) and common comorbidities is informative to practitioners initiating antihypertensive agents. We quantify the prevalence of hyperuricemia and gout in persons with uncontrolled BP and additional cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors.
Methods and Findings
We performed a cross-sectional study of non-institutionalized US adults, 18 years and older, using the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys in 1988–1994 and 1999–2010. Hyperuricemia was defined as serum uric acid >6.0 mg/dL in women; >7.0 mg/dL in men. Gout was ascertained by self-report of physician-diagnosed gout. Uncontrolled BP was based on measured systolic BP≥140 mmHg and diastolic BP≥90 mmHg. Additional CVD risk factors included obesity, reduced glomerular filtration rate, and dyslipidemia. The prevalence of hyperuricemia was 6–8% among healthy US adults, 10–15% among adults with uncontrolled BP, 22–25% with uncontrolled BP and one additional CVD risk factor, and 34–37% with uncontrolled BP and two additional CVD risk factors. Similarly, the prevalence of gout was successively greater, at 1–2%, 4–5%, 6–8%, and 8–12%, respectively, across these same health status categories. In 2007–2010, those with uncontrolled BP and 2 additional CVD risk factors compared to those without CVD risk factors had prevalence ratios of 4.5 (95% CI 3.5–5.6) and 4.5 (95% CI: 3.1–6.3) for hyperuricemia and gout respectively (P<0.01).
Health care providers should be cognizant of the incrementally higher prevalence of hyperuricemia and gout among patients with uncontrolled BP and additional CVD risk factors. With one in three people affected by hyperuricemia among those with several CVD risk factors, physicians should consider their anti-hypertensive regimens carefully and potentially screen for hyperuricemia or gout.
Fifty-nine patients with primary gout were treated with either a combination of colchicine and allopurinol or colchicine alone. Assessments of renal function over 2 years revealed a statistically significant fall of glomerular filtration rate an urine concentrating ability in those receiving only colchicine. The renal function of patients given allopurinol did not change. Treatment with allopurinol resulted ina significant reduction of ammonium excretion, a phenomenon which could not be readily explained. Urate clearance also declined during allopurinol treatment, and the impaired urate clearance associated with gout became more evident. The most important observation was that allopurinol retarded an apparent decline of renal function. Presumably this was achieved through its hypouricaemic effect and implies that the hyperuricaemia of gouty patients is deleterious to the kidneys.
Objective. The Gout Impact Scale (GIS) is a gout-specific quality of life instrument that assesses impact of gout during an attack and impact of overall gout. The GIS has five scales and each is scored from 0 to 100 (worse health). Our objective was to assess minimally important differences (MIDs) for the GIS administered in a randomized controlled trial (RCT) assessing rilonacept vs placebo for prevention of gout flares during initiation of allopurinol therapy.
Methods. Trial subjects ( n = 83) included those with two or more gout flares (self-reported) in the past year. Of these, 73 had data for Weeks 8 vs 4 and formed the MID analysis group and were analysed irrespective of the treatment assignment. Subjects completed the GIS and seven patient-reported anchors. Subjects with a one-step change (e.g. from very poor to poor) were considered as the MID group for each anchor. The mean change in GIS scores and effect size (ES) was calculated for each anchor’s MID group. The average of these created the overall summary MID statistics for each GIS. An ES of 0.2–0.5 was considered to represent MID estimates.
Results. Trial subjects (n = 73) were males (96.0%), White (90.4%), with mean age of 50.5 years and serum uric acid of 9.0 mg/dl. The mean change score for the MID improvement group for scales ranged from −5.24 to −7.61 (0–100 scale). The ES for the MID improvement group for the four scales ranged from 0.22 to 0.38.
Conclusion. The MID estimates for GIS scales are between 5 and 8 points (0–100 scale). This information can aid in interpreting the GIS results in future gout RCTs.
Trial Registration. Clinicaltrials.gov, www.clinicaltrials.gov, NCT00610363.
Gout assessment questionnaire; Gout impact scale; Minimally important difference; Minimal clinically important differences; Rilonacept; Clinical trial design; Health-related quality of life; Health status
Gout is a metabolic disorder characterized by elevated uric acid levels in the body, associated with painful arthritis, tophi and nephropathy. The most frequently used pharmacologic urate lowering strategies involve reducing urate production with a xanthine oxidase inhibitor and enhancing urinary excretion of uric acid with a uricosuric agent. Urate lowering agents are limited in number, availability and effectiveness. The emergence of a new medication, febuxostat, to lower serum urate levels is welcome as no new drug have been approved since the introduction of allopurinol, in 1964, and the drugs that are available have limitations owing to inefficacy or toxicity. Febuxostat is a novel, nonpurine selective inhibitor of xanthine oxidase, is a potential alternative to allopurinol for patients with hyperuricemia and gout.
Gout; hyperuricemia; xanthine oxidase inhibitor