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1.  Sex differences in gout epidemiology: evaluation and treatment 
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases  2006;65(10):1368-1372.
Background
Little is known about the characteristics, evaluation and treatment of women with gout.
Objective
To examine the epidemiological differences and differences in treatment between men and women in a large patient population.
Methods
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.
Results
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.
Conclusions
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.
doi:10.1136/ard.2006.051649
PMCID: PMC1798311  PMID: 16644784
2.  Patients and providers view gout differently: a qualitative study 
Chronic illness  2010;6(4):263-271.
Objective
We sought to examine patients’ and providers’ views on the treatment of gout to better understand why management is suboptimal.
Methods
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.
Results
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.
Conclusions
Providers view gout as easily managed while patients report challenges and purposeful nonadherence.
doi:10.1177/1742395310378761
PMCID: PMC3134238  PMID: 20675361
medication use; gout treatment; medication adherence; qualitative
3.  Concordance of the management of chronic gout in a UK primary‐care population with the EULAR gout recommendations 
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases  2007;66(10):1311-1315.
Objectives
To assess concordance of the management of chronic gout in UK primary care with the European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) gout recommendations.
Methods
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.
Results
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.
Conclusion
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.
doi:10.1136/ard.2007.070755
PMCID: PMC1994300  PMID: 17504843
gout; primary health care; lifestyle risk reduction; allopurinol; EULAR recommendations
4.  The Dynamics of Chronic Gout Treatment: medication gaps and return to therapy 
Objective
To identify gaps in therapy with urate-lowering drugs for the treatment of gout as well as factors associated with resuming therapy.
Methods
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.
Results
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.
Conclusions
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.
doi:10.1016/j.amjmed.2009.05.026
PMCID: PMC2813203  PMID: 20102992
persistence; adherence; compliance; gout; urate lowering drugs
5.  The efficacy and safety of febuxostat for urate lowering in gout patients ≥65 years of age 
BMC Geriatrics  2012;12:11.
Background
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.
Methods
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).
Results
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.
Conclusions
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.
Trial registration
clinicaltrials.gov NCT#00430248
doi:10.1186/1471-2318-12-11
PMCID: PMC3368715  PMID: 22436129
6.  EULAR evidence based recommendations for gout. Part II: Management. Report of a task force of the EULAR Standing Committee For International Clinical Studies Including Therapeutics (ESCISIT) 
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases  2006;65(10):1312-1324.
Objective
To develop evidence based recommendations for the management of gout.
Methods
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.
Results
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.
Conclusions
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.
doi:10.1136/ard.2006.055269
PMCID: PMC1798308  PMID: 16707532
EULAR; gout; guidelines; treatment
7.  Allopurinol Therapy in Gout Patients Does Not Associate with Beneficial Cardiovascular Outcomes: A Population-Based Matched-Cohort Study 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(6):e99102.
Introduction
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.
Methods
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.
Results
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.
Conclusions
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.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0099102
PMCID: PMC4045898  PMID: 24897240
8.  A National Survey of Veterans Affairs Rheumatologists for Relevance of Quality of Care Indicators for Gout Management 
Arthritis care & research  2010;62(9):1306-1311.
Objective
To determine the relevance of current gout Quality indicators (QIs).
Methods
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.
Results
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.
Conclusions
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.
doi:10.1002/acr.20192
PMCID: PMC2943024  PMID: 20235197
Quality Indicators; Gout; Veterans Affairs
9.  Quality of Care for Gout in the US Needs Improvement 
Arthritis and rheumatism  2007;57(5):822-829.
Objective
To examine evidence-based quality indicators (QIs) in US veterans with gout diagnosis, and to examine the effect of demographics, heath care utilization/access, comorbid conditions, or physican characteristics as predictors of quality of gout care.
Methods
Using the Minneapolis Veterans Affairs electronic medical record system, we identified a cohort of veterans receiving medication to treat gout between January 1, 1999 and December 31, 2003, and evaluated 3 recently published evidence-based QIs for gout management: QI 1 = allopurinol dose <300 mg in gout patients with renal insufficiency, QI 2 = uric acid check within 6 months of starting a new allopurinol prescription, and QI 3 = complete blood count and creatine kinase check every 6 months for gout patients receiving prolonged colchicine therapy. We calculated the proportion of patients whose therapy adhered to each QI and to all applicable indicators (overall physician adherence). Logistic regression analysis examined association of overall physician adherence with sociodemographics, health care utilization, comorbidity, and provider characteristics.
Results
Of 3,658 patients with a diagnosis of gout, 663 patients qualified for examination of ≥1 QI. Of these 663 patients, therapy in only 144 (22%) adhered to all applicable QIs; 59 (78%) of 76 adhered to QI 1, 155 (24%) of 643 adhered to QI 2, and 18 (35%) of 52 adhered to QI 3. Overall physician adherence to QIs was significantly lower in older veterans and in those with more inpatient visits per year, but was higher in those with more primary care visits or more health care providers.
Conclusion
Suboptimal physician adherence to QIs was seen for all 3 QIs tested in this cohort of veterans with gout. These findings can guide quality improvement efforts.
doi:10.1002/art.22767
PMCID: PMC3619972  PMID: 17530682
Gout; Veterans; Quality of care; Quality indicators; Physician adherence
10.  Impaired response or insufficient dosage? – examining the potential causes of ”inadequate response” to allopurinol in the treatment of gout 
Objectives
Gout is one of the most common forms of arthritis. It is well established that urate lowering therapy that aims for a serum urate less than at least 0.36mmol/l (6mg/dL) is required for successful management of gout. Allopurinol, a xanthine oxidase (XO) inhibitor is the most commonly used urate lowering therapy. However, many patients fail to achieve the target serum urate on allopurinol, these patients can be considered to have “inadequate response” to allopurinol. Herein we examine the potential mechanisms and implications of inadequate response to allopurinol.
Methods
The literature was reviewed for potential causes for failure to reach target serum urate in patients receiving allopurinol.
Results
The two most common causes of inadequate response to allopurinol are poor adherence and under-dosing of allopurinol. Adherent patients who fail to achieve target serum urate on standard doses of allopurinol form a group that could be considered to be “partially resistant” to allopurinol. There are four potential mechanisms for partial allopurinol resistance: decreased conversion of allopurinol to oxypurinol; increased renal excretion of oxypurinol; abnormality in XO structure and or function such that oxypurinol is rendered less effective, and/or drug interactions.
Conclusions
It is important to determine the reasons for failure to achieve treatment targets with allopurinol, particularly as newer agents become available. The knowledge of the mechanisms for inadequate response may help guide the clinician toward making a therapeutic choice that is more likely to result in achieving the serum urate target.
doi:10.1016/j.semarthrit.2014.05.007
PMCID: PMC4225179  PMID: 24925693
11.  Clinical and health care use characteristics of patients newly prescribed allopurinol, febuxostat and colchicine for gout 
Arthritis care & research  2013;65(12):2008-2014.
Background
Gout is a common inflammatory arthritis with the increasing prevalence in the developed countries. It is well-known that many patients with gout have significant comorbidities and high health care utilization.
Methods
Using US insurance claims data (2009–2011), a population-based cohort study was conducted to describe clinical characteristics and health care utilization patterns in patients with gout newly prescribed allopurinol, febuxostat or colchicine.
Results
There were 25,051 allopurinol, 4,288 febuxostat and 6,238 colchicine initiators. Mean age was 53 years and 83%–87% were male. More than half of patients had hypertension and hyperlipidemia, 20% had diabetes and 10% cardiovascular disease. The mean uric acid level (mg/dl) was similar at baseline ranging from 8.1 to 8.5 across the groups. Compared to allopurinol or colchicine initiators, febuxostat initiators had more comorbidities and greater health care uses including outpatient, inpatient or emergency room visits, both at baseline and during the follow-up. Use of gout related drugs, such as opioids, steroids and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, was most common in febuxostat and least common in colchicine initiators. The median daily dose at both start and end of treatment was 300mg for allopurinol, 40mg for febuxostat, and 1.2mg for colchicine. The dosage of allopurinol and febuxostat was rarely increased during the follow-up.
Conclusion
Patients who started allopurinol, febuxostat or colchicine for gout generally had hyperuricemia and multiple comorbidities. Febuxostat initiators had more comorbidities and greater use of health care resources and gout-related drugs than other groups. Overall, the dosages of allopurinol or febuxostat remained unchanged over time.
doi:10.1002/acr.22067
PMCID: PMC4096791  PMID: 23861232
gout; allopurinol; febuxostat; colchicine
12.  Gout  
Clinical Evidence  2008;2008:1120.
Introduction
Gout affects about 5% of men and 1% of women, with up to 80% of people experiencing a recurrent attack within 3 years.
Methods and outcomes
We conducted a systematic review and aimed to answer the following clinical questions: What are the effects of treatments for acute gout? What are the effects of treatments to prevent gout in people with prior acute episodes? We searched: Medline, Embase, The Cochrane Library, and other important databases up to June 2008 (Clinical Evidence reviews are updated periodically, please check our website for the most up-to-date version of this review). We included harms alerts from relevant organisations such as the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
Results
We found 21 systematic reviews, RCTs, or observational studies that met our inclusion criteria. We performed a GRADE evaluation of the quality of evidence for interventions.
Conclusions
In this systematic review we present information relating to the effectiveness and safety of the following interventions: colchicine, corticosteroids, corticotrophin (ACTH), non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), sulfinpyrazone, xanthine oxidase inhibitors, advice to lose weight, advice to reduce alcohol intake, advice to reduce dietary intake of purines.
Key Points
Gout is characterised by deposition of urate crystals, causing acute monoarthritis and crystal deposits (tophi) in the skin. Gout affects about 5% of men and 1% of women, with up to 80% of people experiencing a recurrent attack within 3 years.Diagnosis is usually clinical, supported by signs of hyperuricaemia.Risk factors are those associated with increased serum urate concentrations, including: older age; non-white ethnicity; obesity; consumption of alcohol, meat, and fish; and use of diuretics.Hyperuricaemia may be associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular events; we don't know whether it is an independent risk factor.
We don't know whether NSAIDs reduce pain and tenderness in an acute attack of gout, although they are commonly used in clinical practice. They are associated with increased risks of gastrointestinal, and possible cardiovascular, adverse effects. Indometacin is widely used to treat acute gout despite the absence of RCT evidence of benefit. Etoricoxib is as effective as indometacin with reduced risks of gastrointestinal adverse effects.
Although it has been widely used for many years, we don't know whether oral colchicine improves symptoms in acute gout. Its use is limited by the high incidence of adverse effects.
We don't know whether intra-articular, parenteral or oral corticosteroids, or corticotropin (ACTH), improve symptoms in acute gout.
We don't know whether colchicine prevents attacks of gout in people with prior episodes, but it may reduce the risk of an attack in a person starting allopurinol treatment. We don't know whether advice to lose weight or reduce alcohol or dietary purine intake prevents further attacks of gout.We don't know whether allopurinol or febuxostat, orsulfinpyrazone reduce the risk of recurrent attacks compared with placebo or other treatments.
PMCID: PMC2907998  PMID: 19445790
13.  Gout 
Clinical Evidence  2011;2011:1120.
Introduction
Gout affects about 5% of men and 1% of women, with up to 80% of people experiencing a recurrent attack within 3 years.
Methods and outcomes
We conducted a systematic review and aimed to answer the following clinical questions: What are the effects of treatments for acute gout? What are the effects of treatments to prevent gout in people with prior acute episodes? We searched: Medline, Embase, The Cochrane Library, and other important databases up to September 2010 (Clinical Evidence reviews are updated periodically; please check our website for the most up-to-date version of this review). We included harms alerts from relevant organisations such as the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
Results
We found 16 systematic reviews, RCTs, or observational studies that met our inclusion criteria. We performed a GRADE evaluation of the quality of evidence for interventions.
Conclusions
In this systematic review, we present information relating to the effectiveness and safety of the following interventions: colchicine, corticosteroids, corticotropin (ACTH), non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), sulfinpyrazone, xanthine oxidase inhibitors, advice to lose weight, advice to reduce alcohol intake, and advice to reduce dietary intake of purines.
Key Points
Gout is characterised by deposition of urate crystals, causing acute monoarthritis and crystal deposits (tophi) in the skin. Gout affects about 5% of men and 1% of women, with up to 80% of people experiencing a recurrent attack within 3 years.Diagnosis is usually clinical, supported by presence of hyperuricaemia.Risk factors are those associated with hyperuricaemia, including: older age; non-white ethnicity; obesity; consumption of alcohol, meat, and fish; and use of diuretics.Hyperuricaemia may be associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular events; we don't know whether it is an independent risk factor.
We don't know whether NSAIDs reduce pain and tenderness in an acute attack of gout, although they are commonly used in clinical practice. They are associated with increased risks of gastrointestinal, and possible cardiovascular, adverse effects. Indometacin is widely used to treat acute gout despite the absence of RCT evidence of benefit. Etoricoxib is as effective as indometacin with reduced risks of gastrointestinal adverse effects.
Colchicine may be more effective than placebo at improving symptoms in acute gout. Its use is limited by the high incidence of adverse effects; although these may be reduced with low-dose colchicine regimens. Low-dose colchicine may be as effective at reducing pain in gout and may produce fewer adverse effects than high-dose colchicine.
We don't know whether intra-articular or parenteral corticosteroids, or corticotropin (ACTH), improve symptoms in acute gout. Oral corticosteroids seem as effective as NSAIDs and may have fewer short-term adverse events.
We don't know whether colchicine prevents attacks of gout in people with prior episodes, but it may reduce the risk of an attack in a person starting allopurinol treatment.
We don't know whether advice to lose weight or reduce alcohol or dietary purine intake prevents further attacks of gout.
We don't know whether sulfinpyrazone reduces the risk of recurrent attacks compared with placebo or other treatments.
We don't know whether xanthine oxidase inhibitors reduce the risk of recurrent attacks in the long term when compared with placebo or other treatments. Higher doses of febuxostat may increase the risks of gout attacks within the first 8 weeks of treatment compared with placebo, and compared with allopurinol.
PMCID: PMC3275296  PMID: 21575286
14.  Trends in physician diagnosed gout and gout therapies in the US: results from the national ambulatory health care surveys 1993 to 2009 
Arthritis Research & Therapy  2013;15(6):R181.
Introduction
Gouty arthritis (gout) is primarily cared for in ambulatory care settings. Although the prevalence of gout in the US is thought to be increasing, there have been few data on this as well as temporal changes in gout medication use.
Methods
We analyzed annual visit and drug utilization data from national sample surveys of physician practices and hospital outpatient clinics in the US from 1993 to 2009. Gout diagnosis was recorded by individual physicians.
Result
The frequency of visits for gout increased three-fold from 1993 through 2009; most of the increases were observed from 2003 onwards. The increase was only partly explained by changes in age and gender composition of the surveys over time. A concomitant increase in prescriptions for allopurinol and colchicine and decrease in prescriptions for anti-inflammatories was observed. Aspirin use, a putative risk factor for gout and gout flares, increased substantially over this period. Probenecid use was negligible. Frequency of systemic steroid use has not changed over time.
Conclusions
The number of ambulatory visits for gout has increased almost three-fold in the first decade of the millennium coinciding with increases in physician and patient awareness. This increase was primarily due to visits among the elderly. Uricosuric use remained negligible whereas the uses of allopurinol and colchicine have increased rapidly. Use of traditional non-steroidals has declined, possibly due to safety concerns whereas glucocorticoid use remains unchanged.
doi:10.1186/ar4370
PMCID: PMC3979074  PMID: 24286510
15.  Prescription and dosing of urate-lowering therapy, rather than patient behaviours, are the key modifiable factors associated with targeting serum urate in gout 
Background
Long term serum urate (SU) lowering to a target of <0.36 mmol/l (6 mg/dl) is recommended for effective gout management. However, many studies have reported low achievement of SU targets. The aim of this cross-sectional study was to examine the clinical and psychological factors associated with SU targets in patients with gout.
Methods
Patients with gout for <10 years were recruited from primary and secondary care settings. SU target was defined as SU concentration <0.36 mmol/L at the time of the study visit. Both clinical and psychological factors associated with SU target were analysed. The relationship between SU target and measures of gout activity such as flare frequency, tophi, work absences, and Health Assessment Questionnaire-II was also analysed.
Results
Of the 273 patients enrolled into the study, 89 (32.6%) had SU concentration <0.36 mmol/L. Urate-lowering therapy (ULT) use was strongly associated with SU target (p < 0.001). In those patients prescribed ULT (n = 181), allopurinol dose, patient confidence to keep SU under control, female sex, and ethnicity were independently associated with SU target. Other patient psychological measures and health-related behaviours, including adherence scores, were not independently associated with SU target in those taking ULT. Creatinine clearance, diuretic use, age, and body mass index were not associated with SU target. Patients at SU target reported lower gout flare frequency, compared with those not at target (p = 0.03).
Conclusions
ULT prescription and dosing are key modifiable factors associated with achieving SU target. These data support interventions focusing on improved use of ULT to optimise outcomes in patients with gout.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-13-174
PMCID: PMC3493372  PMID: 22978848
Gout; Urate; Target; Allopurinol
16.  Febuxostat in the management of hyperuricemia and chronic gout: a review 
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.
PMCID: PMC2643102  PMID: 19337428
febuxostat; TEI-6720; TMX-67; gout; hyperuricemia; xanthine oxidase inhibitor
17.  Long-term therapy for chronic gout results in clinically important improvements in the health-related quality of life: short form-36 is responsive to change in chronic gout 
Rheumatology (Oxford, England)  2010;50(4):740-745.
Objective. Short Form-36 (SF-36) is a validated outcome measure to assess health-related quality of life (HRQOL) in patients with gout. We assessed responsiveness to change of SF-36 in patients with gout.
Methods. SF-36 was administered at baseline and at yearly intervals. We assessed the minimal clinically important differences (MCIDs) at the first and second year. We also assessed the responsiveness to change (effect size) and interpreted it based on Cohen’s criteria. We modelled the improvement (defined as ≥MCID) in SF-36 scales and summary scores. Covariates included age, presence of tophi, comorbidities, baseline joint involvement, baseline serum urate, change in serum urate and the number of flares from baseline to 12 months.
Results. Of 99 subjects, 96 were male, mean age was 57.1 years, disease duration was 8.2 years and 40.4% had tophi. Ninety-two patients were treated with urate-lowering therapy (ULT) and daily colchicine, and seven were only on colchicine. Baseline mean serum urate level was 8.9 mg/dl and mean number of flares was 4.7 over last year. ULTs were associated with reduction in serum uric acid and number of flares (P < 0.001 for both) over 12 months. Therapy was associated with 22–70% of the patients achieving MCID in SF-36 scores at 12 months. Effect size estimates ranged from negligible to large (SF-36 mental component summary 0.08–bodily pain 1.09). Reduction in flares independently predicted improvements in three SF-36 physical scales (P = 0.001–0.06). Improvement in SF-36 scores was maintained at 2 years.
Conclusion. In our real-life observational cohort, chronic urate lowering therapy and colchicine was associated with clinically meaningful improvements in HRQOL at 1 year and then maintained at 2 years. SF-36, especially physical domains and physical component summary, are responsive to change in gout.
doi:10.1093/rheumatology/keq346
PMCID: PMC3060621  PMID: 21147824
Gout; Health-related quality of life; Quality of life; Flares; Urate-lowering therapy; Minimal clinically important differences; Minimally important differences; Short Form-36, Gout prophylaxis
18.  A common missense variant of monocarboxylate transporter 9 (MCT9/SLC16A9) gene is associated with renal overload gout, but not with all gout susceptibility 
Human Cell  2013;26(4):133-136.
Gout is a common disease caused by hyperuricemia, which shows elevated serum uric acid (SUA) levels. From a viewpoint of urate handling in humans, gout patients can be divided into those with renal overload (ROL) gout with intestinal urate underexcretion, and those with renal underexcretion (RUE) gout. Recent genome-wide association studies (GWAS) revealed an association between SUA and a variant in human monocarboxylate transporter 9 (MCT9/SLC16A9) gene. Although the function of MCT9 remains unclear, urate is mostly excreted via intestine and kidney where MCT9 expression is observed. In this study, we investigated the relationship between a variant of MCT9 and gout in 545 patients and 1,115 healthy volunteers. A missense variant of MCT9 (K258T), rs2242206, significantly increased the risk of ROL gout (p = 0.012), with odds ratio (OR) of 1.28, although it revealed no significant association with all gout cases (p = 0.10), non-ROL gout cases (p = 0.83), and RUE gout cases (p = 0.34). In any case groups and the control group, minor allele frequencies of rs2242206 were >0.40. Therefore, rs2242206 is a common missense variant and is revealed to have an association with ROL gout, indicating that rs2242206 relates to decreased intestinal urate excretion rather than decreased renal urate excretion. Our study provides clues to better understand the pathophysiology of gout as well as the physiological roles of MCT9.
doi:10.1007/s13577-013-0073-8
PMCID: PMC3844819  PMID: 23990105
Gouty arthritis; Single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP); Gut urate excretion; Carnitine; Solute carrier (SLC) family transporter
19.  Noise Reduction and Image Quality Improvement of Low Dose and Ultra Low Dose Brain Perfusion CT by HYPR-LR Processing 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(2):e17098.
Purpose
To evaluate image quality and signal characteristics of brain perfusion CT (BPCT) obtained by low-dose (LD) and ultra-low-dose (ULD) protocols with and without post-processing by highly constrained back-projection (HYPR)–local reconstruction (LR) technique.
Methods and Materials
Simultaneous BPCTs were acquired in 8 patients on a dual-source-CT by applying LD (80 kV,200 mAs,14×1.2 mm) on tube A and ULD (80 kV,30 mAs,14×1.2 mm) on tube B. Image data from both tubes was reconstructed with identical parameters and post-processed using the HYPR-LR. Correlation coefficients between mean and maximum (MAX) attenuation values within corresponding ROIs, area under attenuation curve (AUC), and signal to noise ratio (SNR) of brain parenchyma were assessed. Subjective image quality was assessed on a 5-point scale by two blinded observers (1:excellent, 5:non-diagnostic).
Results
Radiation dose of ULD was more than six times lower compared to LD. SNR was improved by HYPR: ULD vs. ULD+HYPR: 1.9±0.3 vs. 8.4±1.7, LD vs. LD+HYPR: 5.0±0.7 vs. 13.4±2.4 (both p<0.0001). There was a good correlation between the original datasets and the HYPR-LR post-processed datasets: r = 0.848 for ULD and ULD+HYPR and r = 0.933 for LD and LD+HYPR (p<0.0001 for both). The mean values of the HYPR-LR post-processed ULD dataset correlated better with the standard LD dataset (r = 0.672) than unprocessed ULD (r = 0.542), but both correlations were significant (p<0.0001). There was no significant difference in AUC or MAX. Image quality was rated excellent (1.3) in LD+HYPR and non-diagnostic (5.0) in ULD. LD and ULD+HYPR images had moderate image quality (3.3 and 2.7).
Conclusion
SNR and image quality of ULD-BPCT can be improved to a level similar to LD-BPCT when using HYPR-LR without distorting attenuation measurements. This can be used to substantially reduce radiation dose. Alternatively, LD images can be improved by HYPR-LR to higher diagnostic quality.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0017098
PMCID: PMC3037968  PMID: 21347259
20.  Improvement in the management of gout is vital and overdue: an audit from a UK primary care medical practice 
BMC Family Practice  2013;14:170.
Background
Gout is estimated to affect 1.4% of adults in the UK. Appropriate and timely management is essential to reduce the risk of further flares, complications, and to reduce cardiovascular disease risk. The British Society for Rheumatology and British Health Professionals in Rheumatology (BSR/BHPR) and the European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) have published guidance regarding the management of gout, thereby providing standards against which performance can be measured. This audit was designed to assess the extent to which patients diagnosed with gout in one primary care medical practice in North Staffordshire, UK, are managed in accordance with current best practice guidelines, and to identify strategies for improvement where appropriate.
Methods
Audit criteria were derived from the EULAR and BSR/BHPR guidelines; standards were set arbitrarily, but with consideration of patient comorbidity and other factors which may influence concordance. An electronic search of the practice records was performed to identify adults with a diagnosis of gout. Medical record review with a descriptive analysis was undertaken to assess the extent to which medical management adhered to the predefined standards.
Results
Of the total ≥18 year-old practice population (n = 8686), 305 (3%) patient records included a diagnosis of gout. Of these, 74% (n = 226) had an electronic record of serum uric acid (SUA), and 11% (n = 34) and 53% (n = 162) a measure of estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) ever and serum glucose since diagnosis respectively. 34% (n = 105) of patients had ever taken urate-lowering therapy with 25% (n = 77) currently prescribed this at the time of data extraction. Dose adjustment and monitoring of treatment according to SUA was found to be inadequate. Provision of lifestyle advice and consideration of comorbidities was also lacking.
Conclusions
The primary care management of gout in this practice was not concordant with national and international guidance, a finding consistent with previous studies. This demonstrates that the provision of guidelines alone is not sufficient to improve the quality of gout management and we identify possible strategies to increase guideline adherence.
doi:10.1186/1471-2296-14-170
PMCID: PMC3830984  PMID: 24225170
Gout; Management; Audit; Primary care; Allopurinol; Serum uric acid
21.  Diabetes and gout: efficacy and safety of febuxostat and allopurinol 
Diabetes, Obesity & Metabolism  2013;15(11):1049-1055.
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.
doi:10.1111/dom.12135
PMCID: PMC3902994  PMID: 23683134
clinical trial; diabetes mellitus; drug utilisation
22.  African American patients with gout: efficacy and safety of febuxostat vs allopurinol 
Background
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.
Methods
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.
Results
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.
Conclusions
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
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-13-15
PMCID: PMC3317813  PMID: 22316106
23.  Antihypertensive drugs and risk of incident gout among patients with hypertension: population based case-control study 
Objective To determine the independent associations of antihypertensive drugs with the risk of incident gout among people with hypertension.
Design Nested case-control study.
Setting UK general practice database, 2000-7.
Participants All incident cases of gout (n=24 768) among adults aged 20-79 and a random sample of 50 000 matched controls.
Main outcome measure Relative risk of incident gout associated with use of antihypertensive drugs.
Results After adjusting for age, sex, body mass index, visits to the general practitioner, alcohol intake, and pertinent drugs and comorbidities, the multivariate relative risks of incident gout associated with current use of antihypertensive drugs among those with hypertension (n=29 138) were 0.87 (95% confidence interval 0.82 to 0.93) for calcium channel blockers, 0.81 (0.70 to 0.94) for losartan, 2.36 (2.21 to 2.52) for diuretics, 1.48 (1.40 to 1.57) for β blockers, 1.24 (1.17 to 1.32) for angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors, and 1.29 (1.16 to 1.43) for non-losartan angiotensin II receptor blockers. Similar results were obtained among those without hypertension. The multivariate relative risks for the duration of use of calcium channel blockers among those with hypertension were 1.02 for less than one year, 0.88 for 1-1.9 years, and 0.75 for two or more years and for use of losartan they were 0.98, 0.87, and 0.71, respectively (both P<0.05 for trend).
Conclusions Compatible with their urate lowering properties, calcium channel blockers and losartan are associated with a lower risk of incident gout among people with hypertension. By contrast, diuretics, β blockers, angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors, and non-losartan angiotensin II receptor blockers are associated with an increased risk of gout.
doi:10.1136/bmj.d8190
PMCID: PMC3257215  PMID: 22240117
24.  Lack of change in urate deposition by dual-energy computed tomography among clinically stable patients with long-standing tophaceous gout: a prospective longitudinal study 
Arthritis Research & Therapy  2013;15(5):R160.
Introduction
Dual-energy computed tomography (DECT) has potential for monitoring urate deposition in patients with gout. The aim of this prospective longitudinal study was to analyse measurement error of DECT urate volume measurement in clinically stable patients with tophaceous gout.
Methods
Seventy-three patients with tophaceous gout on stable therapy attended study visits at baseline and twelve months. All patients had a comprehensive clinical assessment including serum urate testing and DECT scanning of both feet. Two readers analysed the DECT scans for the total urate volume in both feet. Analysis included inter-reader intraclass correlation coefficients (ICCs) and limits of agreement, and calculation of the smallest detectable change.
Results
Mean (standard deviation) serum urate concentration over the study period was 0.38 (0.09) mmol/L. Urate-lowering therapy was prescribed in 70 (96%) patients. The median (interquartile range) baseline DECT urate volume was 0.49 (0.16, 2.18) cm3, and change in DECT urate volume was -0.01 (-0.40, 0.28) cm3. Inter-reader ICCs were 1.00 for baseline DECT volumes and 0.93 for change values. Inter-reader bias (standard deviation) for baseline volumes was -0.18 (0.63) cm3 and for change was -0.10 (0.93) cm3. The smallest detectable change was 0.91 cm3. There were 47 (64%) patients with baseline DECT urate volumes <0.91 cm3. Higher serum urate concentrations were observed in patients with increased DECT urate volumes above the smallest detectable change (P = 0.006). However, a relationship between changes in DECT urate volumes and serum urate concentrations was not observed in the entire group.
Conclusions
In patients with tophaceous gout on stable conventional urate-lowering therapy the measurement error for DECT urate volume assessment is substantially greater than the median baseline DECT volume. Analysis of patients commencing or intensifying urate-lowering therapy should clarify the optimal use of DECT as a potential outcome measure in studies of chronic gout.
doi:10.1186/ar4343
PMCID: PMC3978645  PMID: 24286500
25.  Facilitators and barriers to adherence to urate-lowering therapy in African-Americans with gout: a qualitative study 
Introduction
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.
Methods
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.
Results
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.
Conclusions
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.
doi:10.1186/ar4524
PMCID: PMC4060486  PMID: 24678765

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