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1.  Febuxostat: the evidence for its use in the treatment of hyperuricemia and gout 
Core evidence  2010;4:25-36.
Introduction:
Gout is a common and disabling cause of arthritis in middle-aged and elderly populations, with its main predisposing factor being hyperuricemia (serum urate > 6.8 mg/dL). Options for treatment of chronic gout until 2008 were allopurinol, a xanthine oxidase inhibitor, and the group of drugs known as uricosurics that stimulate the renal excretion of uric acid. A proportion of patients, including some with chronic kidney disease and solid organ transplantations, could not be treated with the those therapies because of intolerance, drug interactions, or adverse events. Febuxostat is a nonpurine xanthine oxidase inhibitor, recently approved in Europe and the United States for the treatment of chronic gout.
Aim:
To review the clinical evidence (phase II and III studies) of the effectiveness and safety of febuxostat for treatment of hyperuricemia and gout.
Evidence review:
Febuxostat, at doses ranging from 40 to 240 mg/day, is efficacious in reducing serum urate in patients with hyperuricemia and gout, comparing favorably with fixed doses of allopurinol in that respect. Early safety signals with respect to liver test abnormalities and cardiovascular outcomes have not been confirmed in recent large prospective trials but need to be further monitored.
Clinical potential:
Given its low cost and extensive clinical experience, allopurinol will likely remain the first-line drug for management of hyperuricemia and gout. Febuxostat may provide an important option in patients unable to use allopurinol, those with very high serum urate levels, or in the presence of refractory tophi.
PMCID: PMC2899777  PMID: 20694062
febuxostat; gout; hyperuricemia; evidence
2.  Febuxostat for treating chronic gout 
Background
Gout is the most common inflammatory arthritis in men over 40 years and has an increasing prevalence among postmenopausal women. Lowering serum uric acid levels remains one of the primary goals in the treatment of chronic gout. In clinical trials, febuxostat has been shown to be effective in lowering serum uric acid levels to < 6.0 mg/dL.
Objectives
To evaluate the benefits and harms of febuxostat for chronic gout.
Search methods
We searched The Cochrane Library, MEDLINE, EMBASE, and International Pharmaceutical Abstracts from inception to July 2011. The ClinicalTrials.gov website was searched for references to trials of febuxostat. Our search did not include any restrictions.
Selection criteria
Two authors independently reviewed the search results and disagreements were resolved by discussion. We included any controlled clinical trial or open label trial (OLT) using febuxostat at any dose.
Data collection and analysis
Data and risk of bias were independently extracted by two authors and summarised in a meta-analysis. Continuous data were expressed as mean difference and dichotomous data as risk ratio (RR).
Main results
Four randomised trials and two OLTs with 3978 patients were included. Risk of bias differed by outcome, ranging from low to high risk of bias. Included studies failed to report on five to six of the nine outcome measures recommended by OMERACT. Patients taking febuxostat 120 mg and 240 mg reported more frequent gout flares than in the placebo group at 4 to 28 weeks (RR 1.7; 95% CI 1.3 to 2.3, and RR 2.6; 95% CI 1.8 to 3.7 respectively). No statistically significant differences were observed at 40 mg and 80 mg. Compared to placebo, patients on febuxostat 40 mg were 40.1 times more likely to achieve serum uric acid levels < 6.0 mg/dL at 4 weeks (95% CI 2.5 to 639), with an absolute treatment benefit of 56% (95% CI 37% to 71%). For febuxostat 80 mg and 120 mg, patients were 68.9 and 80.7 times more likely to achieve serum uric acid levels < 6.0 mg/dL at their final visit compared to placebo (95% CI 13.8 to 343.9, 95% CI 16.0 to 405.5), respectively; with an absolute treatment benefit of 75% and 87% (95% CI 68 to 80% and 81 to 91%), respectively. Total discontinuation rates were significantly higher in the febuxostat 80 mg group compared to placebo (RR 1.4; 95% CI 1.0 to 2.0, absolute risk increase 11%; 95% CI 3 to 19%). No other differences were observed.
When comparing allopurinol to febuxostat at 24 to 52 weeks, the number of gout flares was not significantly different between the two groups, except for febuxostat 240 mg (RR 2.3; 95% CI 1.7 to 3.0). Patients on febuxostat 40 mg showed no statistically significant differences in benefits or harms. Patients on febuxostat 80 mg and 120 mg were 1.8 and 2.2 times more likely to achieve serum uric acid levels < 6.0 mg/dL at their final visit (95% CI 1.6 to 2.2, 95% CI 1.9 to 2.5) with an absolute treatment benefit of 29% and 44% (95% CI 25% to 33%, 95% CI 38% to 50%), respectively, at 24 to 52 weeks. Total discontinuation rates were higher for febuxostat 80 mg and 120 mg compared to allopurinol (RR 1.5; 95% CI 1.2 to 1.8, absolute risk increase 11%; 95% CI 6% to 16%; and RR 2.6; 95% CI 2.0 to 3.3, absolute risk increase 20%; 95% CI 3% to 14%, respectively). Discontinuations due to adverse events were similar across groups. Total adverse events were lower for febuxostat 80 mg and 120 mg compared with allopurinol (RR 0.93; 95% CI 0.87 to 0.99, absolute risk increase 6%; 95% CI 0.7% to 11%; and RR 0.90; 95% CI 0.84 to 0.96, absolute risk increase 8%; 95% CI 3% to 13%, respectively). No other relevant differences were noted.
After 3 years of follow-up there were no statistically significant differences regarding effectiveness and harms between febuxostat 80 mg or 120 mg and allopurinol groups (adverse event rate per 100 patient-years 227, 216, and 246, respectively).
Authors’ conclusions
Although the incidence of gout flares requiring treatment may be increased in patients taking febuxostat compared to placebo or allopurinol during early treatment, no such increase in gout flares was observed in the long-term follow-up study when compared to allopurinol. Febuxostat at any dose was shown to be beneficial in achieving serum uric acid levels < 6.0 mg/dL and reducing serum uric acid levels in the period from baseline to final visit when compared to placebo and to allopurinol. However, the grade of evidence ranged from low to high, which indicates that further research is needed.
doi:10.1002/14651858.CD008653.pub2
PMCID: PMC4058893  PMID: 23152264
Allopurinol [adverse effects, therapeutic use]; Chronic Disease; Gout [blood*drug therapy]; Gout Suppressants [adverse effects*therapeutic use]; Hyperuricemia [drug therapy]; Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic; Thiazoles [adverse effects*therapeutic use]; Female; Humans; Male
3.  Management of hyperuricemia in gout: focus on febuxostat 
Gout is the most common inflammatory arthritis in an elderly population, and can be diagnosed with absolute certainty by polarization microscopy. However, diagnosis may be challenging because atypical presentations are more common in the elderly. Management of hyperuricemia in the elderly with gout requires special consideration because of co-medication, contra-indications, and risk of adverse reactions. Urate-lowering agents include allopurinol and uricosuric agents. These also must be used sensibly in the elderly, especially when renal function impairment is present. However, if used at the lowest dose that maintains the serum urate level below 5.0 to 6.0 mg/dL (0.30 to 0.36 mmol/L), the excess urate in the body will eventually be eliminated, acute flares will no longer occur, and tophi will resolve. Febuxostat, a new xanthine oxidase inhibitor, is welcomed, as few alternatives for allopurinol are available. Its pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics are not significantly altered in patients with moderate renal function or hepatic impairment. Its antihyperuricemic efficacy at 80 to 120 mg/day is better than “standard dosage” allopurinol (300 mg/day). Long-term safety data and efficacy data on tophus diminishment and reduction of gout flares have recently become available. Febuxostat may provide an important option in patients unable to use allopurinol, or refractory to allopurinol.
PMCID: PMC2817937  PMID: 20169038
aging; febuxostat; hyperuricemia; gout; pharmacotherapy; xanthine oxidase
4.  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
5.  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
6.  Febuxostat: A Novel Agent for Management of Hyperuricemia in Gout 
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.
doi:10.4103/0250-474X.100231
PMCID: PMC3480742  PMID: 23112391
Gout; hyperuricemia; xanthine oxidase inhibitor
7.  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
8.  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
9.  Latest evidence on gout management: what the clinician needs to know 
Until recently, the last drug approved for the treatment of gout by the United States Food and Drug Administration was allopurinol in 1966. Since 2008, two new drugs for the treatment of gout, febuxostat and pegloticase, have been approved in the US. Febuxostat has been approved in the EU and pegloticase approval is anticipated. A new single-ingredient colchicine preparation is available in the US, and the treatment recommendations for the use of colchicine in acute gout have evolved, now favoring a low-dose regimen. Several other exciting drugs are in development. Herein, we review some of basic principles in the diagnosis and staging of gout. We then examine current treatment principles, with particular attention to febuxostat and pegloticase, offering suggestions as to where they might fit into a modern therapeutic algorithm for gout treatment. We then present available data on several exciting new agents in development, including interleukin-1 inhibitors, and relate them to advances in our understanding of gout pathogenesis. We conclude with some important nonpharmacologic principles for optimal management of this ancient and eminently treatable disease. Dedicated gout research, going on quietly in the background of other breathtaking advances in rheumatology, is now paying off. This comes at a time when the number of patients affected by gout continues to rise, mainly due to an epidemic of obesity. An effort to improve lifestyle choices as a society and better management of the disease by clinicians should have a positive impact on gout incidence and outcome in our lifetimes.
doi:10.1177/2040622312462056
PMCID: PMC3539261  PMID: 23342241
febuxostat; gout; hyperuricemia; inflammasome; interleukin-1; pegloticase; uric acid
10.  Gout. Novel therapies for treatment of gout and hyperuricemia 
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.
doi:10.1186/ar2738
PMCID: PMC2745774  PMID: 19664185
11.  New and improved strategies for the treatment of gout 
The Western world appears to be in the midst of the third great gout epidemic of all time. In this century, gout is increasing in prevalence despite an increased understanding of its risk factors and pathophysiology, and the availability of reasonably effective treatment. The main cultural factors responsible for this appear to be diet, obesity, ethanol use and medications. Excess fructose consumption is a newly recognized modifiable risk factor. The debate has been renewed concerning hyperuricemia as an independent risk factor for renal insufficiency and cardiovascular disease. Prevention is still rooted in lifestyle choices. Existing treatments have proven to be unsatisfactory in many patients with comorbidities. New treatments are available today and on the horizon for tomorrow, which offer a better quality of life for gout sufferers. These include febuxostat, a nonpurine inhibitor of xanthine oxidase with a potentially better combination of efficacy and safety than allopurinol, and investigational inhibitors of URAT-1, an anion exchanger in the proximal tubule that is critical for uric acid homeostasis. New abortive treatments include interleukin-1 antagonists that can cut short the acute attack in 1 to 2 days in persons who cannot take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, colchicine or corticosteroids. Lastly, newer formulations of uricase have the ability to dissolve destructive tophi over weeks or months in patients who cannot use currently available hypouricemic agents. Diagnostically, ultrasound and magnetic resonance imaging offer advanced ways to diagnose gout noninvasively, and just as importantly, a way to follow the progress of tophus dissolution. The close association of hyperuricemia with metabolic syndrome, hypertension and renal insufficiency ensures that nephrologists will see increasing numbers of gout-afflicted patients.
doi:10.2147/IJNRD.S6048
PMCID: PMC3108771  PMID: 21694941
hyperuricemia; metabolic syndrome; tophi; colchicine; febuxostat; allopurinol
12.  The effect of febuxostat to prevent a further reduction in renal function of patients with hyperuricemia who have never had gout and are complicated by chronic kidney disease stage 3: study protocol for a multicenter randomized controlled study 
Trials  2014;15:26.
Background
Hyperuricemia is a risk factor for the onset of chronic kidney disease (CKD) and is significantly associated with the progression of CKD. However, there is no sufficient evidence by interventional research supporting a cause-effect relationship. Hyperuricemic patients without gouty arthritis, whose serum urate (SUA) concentration is ≥8.0 mg/dL and who have a complication, are treated by pharmacotherapy in addition to lifestyle guidance. Nevertheless, there is no evidence that rationalizes pharmacotherapy for patients with hyperuricemia who have no complication and whose SUA concentration is below 9.0 mg/dL.
Methods/Design
The FEATHER (FEbuxostat versus placebo rAndomized controlled Trial regarding reduced renal function in patients with Hyperuricemia complicated by chRonic kidney disease stage 3) study is a prospective, multicenter, double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial of febuxostat—a novel, nonpurine, selective, xanthine oxidase inhibitor. The present study will enroll, at 64 medical institutions in Japan, 400 Japanese patients aged 20 years or older who have hyperuricemia without gouty arthritis, who present CKD stage 3, and whose SUA concentration is 7.1-10.0 mg/dL. Patients are randomly assigned to either the febuxostat or the control group, in which febuxostat tablets and placebo are administered orally, respectively. The dosage of the study drugs should be one 10-mg tablet/day at weeks 1 to 4 after study initiation, increased to one 20-mg tablet/day at weeks 5 to 8, and elevated to one 40-mg tablet/day at week 9 and then maintained until week 108. The primary endpoint is estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) slope. The secondary endpoints include the amount and percent rate of change in eGFR from baseline to week 108, the amount and percent rate of change in SUA concentration from baseline to week 108, the proportion of patients who achieved an SUA concentration ≤6.0 mg/dL, and the incidence of renal function deterioration.
Discussion
The present study aims to examine whether febuxostat prevents a further reduction in renal function as assessed with eGFR in subjects and will (1) provide evidence to indicate the inverse association between a reduction in SUA concentration and an improvement in renal function and (2) rationalize pharmacotherapy for subjects and clarify its clinical relevance.
Trial registration
UMIN Identifier: UMIN000008343
doi:10.1186/1745-6215-15-26
PMCID: PMC3899617  PMID: 24433285
Xanthine oxidase inhibitor; Urate-lowering therapy; Reduced renal function; Hyperuricemia; Chronic kidney disease; Randomized controlled study; Placebo
13.  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
14.  Developments in the scientific and clinical understanding of gout 
Gout is the most common form of inflammatory arthritis in the elderly. In the last two decades, both hyperuricemia and gout have increased markedly and similar trends in the epidemiology of the metabolic syndrome have been observed. Recent studies provide new insights into the transporters that handle uric acid in the kidney as well as possible links between these transporters, hyperuricemia, and hypertension. The treatment of established hyperuricemia has also seen new developments. Febuxostat and PEG-uricase are two novel treatments that have been evaluated and shown to be highly effective in the management of hyperuricemia, thus enlarging the therapeutic options available to lower uric acid levels. Monosodium urate (MSU) crystals are potent inducers of inflammation. Within the joint, they trigger a local inflammatory reaction, neutrophil recruitment, and the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines as well as other inflammatory mediators. Experimentally, the uptake of MSU crystals by monocytes involves interactions with components of the innate immune system, namely Toll-like receptor (TLR)-2, TLR-4, and CD14. Intracellularly, MSU crystals activate multiple processes that lead to the formation of the NALP-3 (NACHT, LRR, and pyrin domain-containing-3) inflammasome complex that in turn processes pro-interleukin (IL)-1 to yield mature IL-1β, which is then secreted. The inflammatory effects of MSU are IL-1-dependent and can be blocked by IL-1 inhibitors. These advances in the understanding of hyperuricemia and gout provide new therapeutic targets for the future.
doi:10.1186/ar2509
PMCID: PMC2592794  PMID: 18947374
15.  The urate-lowering efficacy and safety of febuxostat in the treatment of the hyperuricemia of gout: the CONFIRMS trial 
Introduction
The purpose of this study was to compare urate-lowering (UL) efficacy and safety of daily febuxostat and allopurinol in subjects with gout and serum urate (sUA) ≥ 8.0 mg/dL in a six-month trial.
Methods
Subjects (n = 2,269) were randomized to febuxostat 40 mg or 80 mg, or allopurinol 300 mg (200 mg in moderate renal impairment). Endpoints included the proportion of all subjects with sUA <6.0 mg/dL and the proportion of subjects with mild/moderate renal impairment and sUA <6.0 mg/dL. Safety assessments included blinded adjudication of each cardiovascular (CV) adverse event (AE) and death.
Results
Comorbidities included: renal impairment (65%); obesity (64%); hyperlipidemia (42%); and hypertension (53%). In febuxostat 40 mg, febuxostat 80 mg, and allopurinol groups, primary endpoint was achieved in 45%, 67%, and 42%, respectively. Febuxostat 40 mg UL was statistically non-inferior to allopurinol, but febuxostat 80 mg was superior to both (P < 0.001). Achievement of target sUA in subjects with renal impairment was also superior with febuxostat 80 mg (72%; P < 0.001) compared with febuxostat 40 mg (50%) or allopurinol (42%), but febuxostat 40 mg showed greater efficacy than allopurinol (P = 0.021). Rates of AEs did not differ across treatment groups. Adjudicated (APTC) CV event rates were 0.0% for febuxostat 40 mg and 0.4% for both febuxostat 80 mg and allopurinol. One death occurred in each febuxostat group and three in the allopurinol group.
Conclusions
Urate-lowering efficacy of febuxostat 80 mg exceeded that of febuxostat 40 mg and allopurinol (300/200 mg), which were comparable. In subjects with mild/moderate renal impairment, both febuxostat doses were more efficacious than allopurinol and equally safe. At the doses tested, safety of febuxostat and allopurinol was comparable.
Clinical Trial Registration
NCT00430248
doi:10.1186/ar2978
PMCID: PMC2888216  PMID: 20370912
16.  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
17.  Advances in gout: some answers, more questions 
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.
doi:10.1186/ar3110
PMCID: PMC2990989  PMID: 20959031
18.  Efficacy and Safety of Febuxostat in Patients with Hyperuricemia and Gout 
The past decade has witnessed an exponential increase of novel therapeutic modalities for a variety of rheumatic disorders, including gout. During the past few years two novel therapeutic agents have been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of hyperuricemia in patients with gout, one of them being febuxostat, a nonpurine selective inhibitor of xanthine oxidase. Review of its pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics, efficacy and safety profile, and use in gout patients with comorbid conditions reveals that age and gender have no clinically significant effect and dose adjustments based on age or gender are not required. In addition, febuxostat can be used in patients with mild-to-moderate renal or hepatic involvement. Its overall efficacy and safety profile is comparable and, in certain subsets such as gout patients with mild and moderate renal insufficiency, is superior to allopurinol.
doi:10.1177/1759720X11416405
PMCID: PMC3383531  PMID: 22870483
hyperuricemia; febuxostat; gout; safety profile; efficacy profile
19.  Protocol of the Febuxostat versus Allopurinol Streamlined Trial (FAST): a large prospective, randomised, open, blinded endpoint study comparing the cardiovascular safety of allopurinol and febuxostat in the management of symptomatic hyperuricaemia 
BMJ Open  2014;4(7):e005354.
Introduction
Gout affects 2.5% of the UK's adult population and is now the most common type of inflammatory arthritis. The long-term management of gout requires reduction of serum urate levels and this is most often achieved with use of xanthine oxidase inhibitors, such as allopurinol. Febuxostat is the first new xanthine oxidase inhibitor since allopurinol and was licensed for use in 2008. The European Medicines Agency requested a postlicensing cardiovascular safety study of febuxostat versus allopurinol, which has been named the Febuxostat versus Allopurinol Streamlined trial (FAST).
Methods and analysis
FAST is a cardiovascular safety study using the prospective, randomised, open, blinded endpoint design. FAST is recruiting in the UK and Denmark. Recruited patients are aged over 60 years, prescribed allopurinol for symptomatic hyperuricaemia and have at least one additional cardiovascular risk factor. After an allopurinol lead-in phase where the dose of allopurinol is optimised to achieve European League against Rheumatism (EULAR) urate targets (serum urate <357 µmol/L), patients are randomised to either continue optimal dose allopurinol or to use febuxostat. Patients are followed-up for an average of 3 years. The primary endpoint is first occurrence of the Anti-Platelet Trialists’ Collaboration (APTC) cardiovascular endpoint of non-fatal myocardial infarction, non-fatal stroke or cardiovascular death. Secondary endpoints are all cause mortality and hospitalisations for heart failure, unstable, new or worsening angina, coronary or cerebral revascularisation, transient ischaemic attack, non-fatal cardiac arrest, venous and peripheral arterial vascular thrombotic event and arrhythmia with no evidence of ischaemia. The primary analysis is a non-inferiority analysis with a non-inferiority upper limit for the HR for the primary outcome of 1.3.
Ethics and dissemination
FAST (ISRCTN72443728) has ethical approval in the UK and Denmark, and results will be published in a peer reviewed journal.
Trial Registration number
FAST is registered in the EU Clinical Trials Register (EUDRACT No: 2011-001883-23) and International Standard Randomised Controlled Trial Number Register (ISRCTN No: ISRCTN72443728).
doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2014-005354
PMCID: PMC4120410  PMID: 25011991
Cardiovascular Safety; Clinical Trial; Allopurinol; Febuxostat
20.  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
21.  Can racial disparities in optimal gout treatment be reduced? evidence from a randomized trial 
BMC Medicine  2012;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
doi:10.1186/1741-7015-10-15
PMCID: PMC3337326  PMID: 22316088
Gout; Disparity; Race; treatment; Febuxostat; Allopurinol; randomized; African-American
22.  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
23.  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
24.  Pegloticase for Treatment of Tophaceous Polyarticular Gout 
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.
PMCID: PMC3727571  PMID: 23901393
pegloticase; tophi; treatment resistant gout; infusion reaction
25.  Allopurinol, Benzbromarone, or a Combination in Treating Patients with Gout: Analysis of a Series of Outpatients 
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.
doi:10.1155/2014/263720
PMCID: PMC3955622  PMID: 24719620

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