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1.  Tophi and frequent gout flares are associated with impairments to quality of life, productivity, and increased healthcare resource use: Results from a cross-sectional survey 
The prevalence of gout is increasing, and most research on the associated burden has focused on serum urate (sUA) levels. The present study quantifies the impact of the presence of tophi and frequency of acute gout attacks on health-related quality of life (HRQOL), productivity, and healthcare resource utilization.
Patients with self-reported gout (n = 620; 338 in US and 282 across France, Germany, and UK) were contacted based on inclusion in the 2010 US and EU National Health and Wellness Surveys (Kantar Health) and the Lightspeed Research ailment panel. Respondents were categorized into mutually-exclusive groups based on number of gout flares experienced in the past 12 months (0/don’t recall, 1–2, 3, 4–5, 6+), current presence of tophi (none, 1+, or not sure), and sUA level awareness (yes, no). HRQOL (SF-12v2), healthcare provider visits in the last 6 months, and work productivity and activity impairment (WPAI) were compared across groups.
Most patients were males, mean age of 61 years, who reported experiencing at least one acute gout flare in the past 12 months, and 12.3% (n = 76) reported presence of tophi. Among the 27.7% (n = 172) of patients who were aware of their sUA levels, higher sUA was associated with more flares and tophi. Decreased HRQOL was associated with more frequent flares and presence of tophi. In multivariable models predicting outcomes based on presence of tophi and number of flares, both flares (≥4) and tophi (≥1) were associated with HRQOL decrements on physical and mental component summary scores and health utilities (all p < 0.05), after adjustment for age, gender, and time since diagnosis. Flares were also associated with greater activity impairment.
Impairments associated with gout flares and presence of tophi, across patients in the US and EU, underscore the importance of effective management of this potentially curable condition.
PMCID: PMC3499162  PMID: 22999027
Gout; Quality of life; Productivity; Refractory chronic gout
2.  Prescription and dosing of urate-lowering therapy, rather than patient behaviours, are the key modifiable factors associated with targeting serum urate in gout 
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.
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.
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).
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.
PMCID: PMC3493372  PMID: 22978848
Gout; Urate; Target; Allopurinol
3.  Validation of Pain and Patient Global Scales in Chronic Gout: Data from Two Randomized Controlled Trials 
Annals of the rheumatic diseases  2011;70(7):1277-1281.
To assess validity of pain and patient global scales in gout.
We used data from pegloticase clinical trials in chronic refractory gout to examine the validity of Visual analog scale (VAS) pain (0–100; 100=worst pain), Short-Form 36® (SF-36®) bodily pain (0–100; 100=no pain) and VAS patient global assessment (0–100; 100= worst score). Convergent/divergent validity was tested by examining their correlation with tender and swollen joints, disease duration, gout flares, comorbidities, plasma urate, health assessment questionnaire (HAQ) and SF-36® physical and mental component summary scores. For discriminant ability, we compared the change at 6 months between placebo and pegloticase arms and calculated effect size and standardized response mean (SRM).
212 patients (mean age, 55.4 years, 82% men; 73% with tophaceous gout) provided data. VAS pain was statistically significantly correlated with baseline tender and swollen joints, SF-36® summary and HAQ scores (all p-values <0.0001), but not disease duration (p=0.84), gout flares (p=0.08), comorbidities (p=0.47) or plasma urate (p=0.89). Same correlations were noted for patient global assessment (p<0.006 for all) and similar for SF-36 pain (p<0.002 for all). Pegloticase group had significantly more improvement than placebo at 6-months: VAS pain, -9.2(29.3) vs. 1.9(26.4), p=0.0002; SF-36® pain, 14.6(25.6) vs. -0.04(21.1), p<0.0001; and patient global, −9.3(26.5) vs. 3.4(22.8), p<0.0001. Effect size in pegloticase and placebo groups were as follows: VAS pain, 0.34 and −0.06; SF-36 pain, 0.69 and 0.00; patient global, 0.49 and −0.09.
VAS pain, SF-36 pain and patient global VAS are validated outcome measures in patients with chronic gout.
PMCID: PMC4104520  PMID: 21622774
Validation; Pain; Patient global; Gout; Discrimination; Omeract filter
4.  The efficacy and safety of febuxostat for urate lowering in gout patients ≥65 years of age 
BMC Geriatrics  2012;12:11.
The incidence of gout rises with increasing age. Management of elderly (≥65 years) gout patients can be challenging due to high rates of comorbidities, such as renal impairment and cardiovascular disease, and concomitant medication use. However, there is little data specifically addressing the efficacy and safety of available urate-lowering therapies (ULT) in the elderly. The objective of this post hoc analysis was to examine the efficacy and safety of ULT with febuxostat or allopurinol in a subset of elderly subjects enrolled in the CONFIRMS trial.
Hyperuricemic (serum urate [sUA] levels ≥ 8.0 mg/dL) gout subjects were enrolled in the 6-month, double-blind, randomized, comparative CONFIRMS trial and randomized, 1:1:1, to receive febuxostat, 40 mg or 80 mg, or allopurinol (200 mg or 300 mg based on renal function) once daily. Flare prophylaxis was provided throughout the study duration.
Study endpoints were the percent of elderly subjects with sUA <6.0 mg/dL at the final visit, overall and by renal function status, percent change in sUA from baseline to final visit, flare rates, and rates of adverse events (AEs).
Of 2,269 subjects enrolled, 374 were elderly. Febuxostat 80 mg was significantly more efficacious (82.0%) than febuxostat 40 mg (61.7%; p < 0.001) or allopurinol (47.3%; p < 0.001) for achieving the primary efficacy endpoint. Febuxostat 40 mg was also superior to allopurinol in this population (p = 0.029). In subjects with mild-to-moderate renal impairment, significantly greater ULT efficacy was observed with febuxostat 40 mg (61.6%; p = 0.028) and febuxostat 80 mg (82.5%; p < 0.001) compared to allopurinol 200/300 mg (46.9%). Compared to allopurinol 200/300 mg, the mean percent change in sUA from baseline was significantly greater for both febuxostat 80 mg (p < 0.001) and febuxostat 40 mg (p = 0.011) groups. Flare rates declined steadily in all treatment groups. Rates of AEs were low and comparable across treatments.
These data suggest that either dose of febuxostat is superior to commonly prescribed fixed doses of allopurinol (200/300 mg) in subjects ≥65 years of age with high rates of renal dysfunction. In addition, in this high-risk population, ULT with either drug was well tolerated.
Trial registration NCT#00430248
PMCID: PMC3368715  PMID: 22436129
5.  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.
To assess concordance of the management of chronic gout in UK primary care with the European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) gout recommendations.
A postal questionnaire was sent to all adults aged >30 years registered with two general practices. Patients with possible gout attended for clinical assessment, at which the diagnosis was verified clinically. Aspects of chronic gout management, including provision of lifestyle modification advice, use of urate‐lowering therapies (ULT) including dose titration to serum urate (SUA) level, prophylaxis against acute attacks, and diuretic cessation were assessed in accordance with the EULAR recommendations.
Of 4249 (32%) completed questionnaires returned, 488 reported gout or acute attacks and were invited for clinical assessment. Of 359 attendees, 164 clinically confirmed cases of gout were identified. Advice regarding alcohol consumption was recalled by 59 (41%), weight loss by 36 (25%) and diet by 42 (29%). Allopurinol was the only ULT used and was taken by 44 (30%); 31 (70%) were taking 300 mg daily. Mean SUA was lower in allopurinol users than non‐users (318 vs 434 μmol/l) and was less often >360 μmol/l in allopurinol users (23% vs 75%). Eight patients had recently commenced allopurinol; two of these also were taking prophylactic colchicine or non‐steroidal anti‐inflammatory drugs. Of 25 patients with diuretic‐induced gout, 16 (64%) were still taking a diuretic.
Treatment of chronic gout is often suboptimal and poorly concordant with EULAR recommendations. Lifestyle advice is infrequently offered, and allopurinol is restricted to a minority. Persistent hyperuricaemia was often seen in allopurinol non‐users, but was also in allopurinol users, suggesting that doses >300 mg are often necessary.
PMCID: PMC1994300  PMID: 17504843
gout; primary health care; lifestyle risk reduction; allopurinol; EULAR recommendations
6.  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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
PMCID: PMC3978645  PMID: 24286500
7.  Facilitators and barriers to adherence to urate-lowering therapy in African-Americans with gout: a qualitative study 
Limited literature exists for qualitative studies of medication adherence in gout, especially in African-Americans. The aim of this study was to examine the facilitators and barriers to adherence to urate-lowering therapy (ULT) in African-Americans with gout.
In this study, nine nominal groups lasting 1 to 1.5 hours each were conducted in African-Americans with gout, six with low ULT and three with high ULT adherence (medication possession ratios of <0.80 or ≥0.80, respectively). Patients presented, discussed, combined and rank ordered their concerns. A qualitative analysis was performed.
This study included 43 patients with mean age 63.9 years (standard deviation, 9.9), 67% men, who participated in nine nominal groups (seven in men, two in women): African-American men (n = 30); African-American women (n = 13). The main facilitators to ULT adherence (three groups) were the recognition of the need to take ULT regularly to prevent gout flares, prevent pain from becoming chronic/severe and to have less dietary restriction; the lack of side effects from ULT; trust in physicians; and avoiding the need to seek emergent/urgent care for flares. Patients achieved high ULT adherence by organizing their pills using the pillbox and the incorporation of ULT intake into their routine to prevent forgetting. The main barriers to optimal ULT adherence were (six groups): doubts about effectiveness of ULT, concerns about cost and side effects, concomitant medications, forgetfulness, refilling the prescriptions on time, pill size and difficulty in swallowing, competing priorities, patient preference for alternative medicines (that is, cherry juice) and frequent travel.
Identification of facilitators and barriers to high ULT adherence in African-Americans with gout in this study lays the foundation for designing interventions to improve ULT adherence in racial minorities.
PMCID: PMC4060486  PMID: 24678765
8.  New advances in the treatment of gout: review of pegloticase 
Treatment-failure gout (TFG) affects approximately 50,000 patients or about 1% of the overall population of patients with gout in the United States of America. The severity of TFG is manifested by frequent acute attacks of disabling arthritis, chronic deforming joint disease, destructive masses of urate crystals (tophi), progressive physical disability, and poor health-related quality of life. Pegloticase (Krystexxa®; Savient Pharmaceuticals, Inc), a novel PEGylated urate oxidase (uricase) enzyme, has been resubmitted for US Food and Drug Administration approval. In a 6-month, placebo-controlled clinical trial, 8 mg of pegloticase for every 2 weeks induced a lytic decrease of serum urate (sUr) concentrations, leading to dissolution of tophi in 40% of patients at final visit. However, 58% were nonresponders to the defined target sUr of 0.36 mmol/L (80% were nonresponders during months 3 and 6), possibly due to anti-body formation. Also, 26%–31% experienced infusion reactions (IRs) and 77% suffered from gout flares. Although long-term data are awaited, an anti-inflammatory strategy, eg, based on glucocorticosteroids, is needed to prevent pegloticase antibody formation leading to IRs and diminished or shortened efficacy, and might also prevent gout flares. According to the current clinical data, pegloticase might have an important role as a (bridging) treatment in sUr-responsive patients for tophi clearance in severe chronic refractory gout.
PMCID: PMC2988614  PMID: 21127695
pegloticase; hyperuricemia; gout; pharmacotherapy; PEG-uricase
9.  African American patients with gout: efficacy and safety of febuxostat vs allopurinol 
African Americans are twice as likely as Caucasians to develop gout, but they are less likely to be treated with urate-lowering therapy (ULT). Furthermore, African Americans typically present with more comorbidities associated with gout, such as hypertension, obesity, and renal impairment. We determined the efficacy and safety of ULT with febuxostat or allopurinol in African American subjects with gout and associated comorbidities and in comparison to Caucasian gout subjects.
This is a secondary analysis of the 6-month Phase 3 CONFIRMS trial. Eligible gouty subjects with baseline serum urate (sUA) ≥ 8.0 mg/dL were randomized 1:1:1 to receive febuxostat 40 mg, febuxostat 80 mg, or allopurinol (300 mg or 200 mg depending on renal function) daily. All subjects received gout flare prophylaxis. Primary efficacy endpoint was the proportion of subjects in each treatment group with sUA < 6.0 mg/dL at the final visit. Additional endpoints included the proportion of subjects with mild or with moderate renal impairment who achieved a target sUA < 6.0 mg/dL at final visit. Adverse events (AEs) were recorded throughout the study.
Of the 2,269 subjects enrolled, 10.0% were African American and 82.1% were Caucasian. African American subjects were mostly male (89.5%), obese (BMI ≥ 30 kg/m2; 67.1%), with mean baseline sUA of 9.8 mg/dL and mean duration of gout of 10.4 years. The proportions of African American subjects with a baseline history of diabetes, renal impairment, or cardiovascular disease were significantly higher compared to Caucasians (p < 0.001). ULT with febuxostat 80 mg was superior to both febuxostat 40 mg (p < 0.001) and allopurinol (p = 0.004). Febuxostat 40 mg was comparable in efficacy to allopurinol. Significantly more African American subjects with mild or moderate renal impairment achieved sUA < 6.0 mg/dL in the febuxostat 80 group than in either the febuxostat 40 mg or allopurinol group (p < 0.05). Efficacy rates in all treatment groups regardless of renal function were comparable between African American and Caucasian subjects, as were AE rates.
In African American subjects with significant comorbidities, febuxostat 80 mg is significantly more efficacious than either febuxostat 40 mg or allopurinol 200/300 mg. Febuxostat was well tolerated in this African American population.
Please see related article:
PMCID: PMC3317813  PMID: 22316106
10.  Long-term safety of pegloticase in chronic gout refractory to conventional treatment 
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases  2012;72(9):1469-1474.
To evaluate the long-term safety (up to 3 years) of treatment with pegloticase in patients with refractory chronic gout.
This open-label extension (OLE) study was conducted at 46 sites in the USA, Canada and Mexico. Patients completing either of two replicate randomised placebo-controlled 6-month trials received pegloticase 8 mg every 2 weeks (biweekly) or every 4 weeks (monthly). Safety was evaluated as the primary outcome, with special interest in gout flares and infusion-related reactions (IRs). Secondary outcomes included urate-lowering and clinical efficacy.
Patients (n=149) received a mean±SD of 28±18 pegloticase infusions and were followed for a mean of 25±11 months. Gout flares and IRs were the most frequently reported adverse events; these were least common in patients with a sustained urate-lowering response to treatment and those receiving biweekly treatment. In 10 of the 11 patients with a serious IR, the event occurred when uric acid exceeded 6 mg/dl. Plasma and serum uric acid levels remained <6 mg/dl in most randomised controlled trial (RCT)-defined pegloticase responders throughout the OLE study and were accompanied by sustained and progressive improvements in tophus resolution and flare incidence.
The safety profile of long-term pegloticase treatment was consistent with that observed during 6 months of RCT treatment; no new safety signals were identified. Improvements in clinical status, in the form of flare and tophus reduction initiated during RCT pegloticase treatment in patients maintaining goal range urate-lowering responses were sustained or advanced during up to 2.5 years of additional treatment.
PMCID: PMC3756467  PMID: 23144450
Gout; Treatment; Rheumatoid Arthritis
11.  Tophus burden reduction with pegloticase: results from phase 3 randomized trials and open-label extension in patients with chronic gout refractory to conventional therapy 
Arthritis Research & Therapy  2013;15(5):R137.
Two replicate randomized, placebo-controlled six-month trials (RCTs) and an open-label treatment extension (OLE) comprised the pegloticase development program in patients with gout refractory to conventional therapy. In the RCTs, approximately 40% of patients treated with the approved dose saw complete response (CR) of at least one tophus. Here we describe the temporal course of tophus resolution, total tophus burden in patients with multiple tophi, tophus size at baseline, and the relationship between tophus response and urate-lowering efficacy.
Baseline subcutaneous tophi were analyzed quantitatively using computer-assisted digital images in patients receiving pegloticase (8 mg biweekly or monthly) or placebo in the RCTs, and pegloticase in the OLE. Tophus response, a secondary endpoint in the trials, was evaluated two ways. Overall tophus CR was the proportion of patients achieving a best response of CR (without any new/enlarging tophi) and target tophus complete response (TT-CR) was the proportion of all tophi with CR.
Among 212 patients randomized in the RCTs, 155 (73%) had ≥1 tophus and 547 visible tophi were recorded at baseline. Overall tophus CR was recorded in 45% of patients in the biweekly group (P = 0.002 versus placebo), 26% in the monthly group, and 8% in the placebo group after six months of RCT therapy. TT-CR rates at six months were 28%, 19%, and 2% of tophi, respectively. Patients meeting the primary endpoint of sustained urate-lowering response to therapy (responders) were more likely than nonresponders to have an overall tophus CR at six months (54% vs 20%, respectively and 8% with placebo).
Both overall tophus CR and TT-CRs increased with treatment duration in the OLE, reaching 70% (39/56) of patients and 55% (132/238) of target tophi after one year of treatment in patients receiving pegloticase during both the RCTs and OLE. At that time point, more tophi had resolved in responders (102/145 or 70% of tophi) than nonresponders (30/93; 32%).
Pegloticase reduced tophus burden in patients with refractory tophaceous gout, especially those achieving sustained urate-lowering. Complete resolution of tophi occurred in some patients by 13 weeks and in others with longer-term therapy.
Trial registrations
NCT00325195, NCT01356498
PMCID: PMC3979037  PMID: 24286509
12.  Primary care providers’ knowledge, beliefs and treatment practices for gout: results of a physician questionnaire 
Rheumatology (Oxford, England)  2013;52(9):1623-1629.
Objective. We sought to examine primary care providers’ gout knowledge and reported treatment patterns in comparison with current treatment recommendations.
Methods. We conducted a national survey of a random sample of US primary care physicians to assess their treatment of acute, intercritical and tophaceous gout using published European and American gout treatment recommendations and guidelines as a gold standard.
Results. There were 838 respondents (response rate of 41%), most of whom worked in private practice (63%) with >16 years experience (52%). Inappropriate dosing of medications in the setting of renal disease and lack of prophylaxis when initiating urate-lowering therapy (ULT) accounted for much of the lack of compliance with treatment recommendations. Specifically for acute podagra, 53% reported avoidance of anti-inflammatory drugs in the setting of renal insufficiency, use of colchicine at a dose of ≤2.4 mg/day and no initiation of a ULT during an acute attack. For intercritical gout in the setting of renal disease, 3% would provide care consistent with the recommendations, including initiating a ULT at the appropriate dose with dosing titration to a serum urate level of ≤6 mg/dl and providing prophylaxis. For tophaceous gout, 17% reported care consistent with the recommendations, including ULT use with dosing titration to a serum urate level of ≤6 mg/dl and prophylaxis.
Conclusion. Only half of primary care providers reported optimal treatment practices for the management of acute gout and <20% for intercritical or tophaceous gout, suggesting that care deficiencies are common.
PMCID: PMC3741476  PMID: 23620554
gout knowledge; medication use; treatment practices
13.  Gout impacts on function and health-related quality of life beyond associated risk factors and medical conditions: results from the KING observational study of the Italian Society for Rheumatology (SIR) 
Arthritis Research & Therapy  2013;15(5):R101.
Gout is the most prevalent arthritis and significantly impacts on function and quality of life. Given that gout associates with disabling comorbid conditions, it is not clear whether such a complex of diseases accounts for the increased disability or if gout may play a role by itself. This study aims to evaluate the specific influence of gout and disease-related features on functional disability and health-related quality of life (HRQoL) in patients with gout followed in rheumatology clinics.
A random sample of patients was drawn from clinical registries of 30 rheumatology clinics across Italy. Sociodemographic, general health and gout-specific variables were collected. Functional disability and HRQoL were assessed by the health assessment questionnaire (HAQ) and the Physical and Mental Component Summary scores (PCS and MCS) of the Short Form-36 (SF-36). Crude and adjusted ordinal logistic and linear regression models were applied to investigate the specific contribution of different variables on HAQ and SF-36 scores. Results are presented as odds ratio (OR) or mean difference (MD) and 95% confidence intervals.
Out of 446 patients with gout, 90% were males with a mean age of 63.9 years and median disease duration of 3.8 years; the majority of patients were overweight or obese, and with several comorbidities; 21.1% showed at least moderate disability; the PCS score was significantly lower than expected age- and gender-matched samples in the general population, while MCS score was not. After adjusting for potential sociodemographic and general-health confounders, gout-specific variables significantly impacted on HAQ, including polyarticular involvement OR 3.82 (1.63, 8.95), presence of tophi OR 1.92 (1.07, 3.43) and recent attacks OR 2.20 (1.27, 3.81). Consistent results were found for PCS. The impairment of PCS compared to the general population was limited to patients with features of chronic gout. MCS was only affected by recent attacks (MD -2.72 [-4.58, -0.86]) and corticosteroid treatment (-3.39 [-5.30,-1.48]).
The data from the KING study confirm that gout impacts on disability and provide evidence for an independent association of gout and gout-related features with functional outcome and HRQoL. This result supports the need to improve specific treatment in gout.
PMCID: PMC3979095  PMID: 24004577
14.  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.
To develop evidence based recommendations for the management of gout.
The multidisciplinary guideline development group comprised 19 rheumatologists and one evidence based medicine expert representing 13 European countries. Key propositions on management were generated using a Delphi consensus approach. Research evidence was searched systematically for each proposition. Where possible, effect size (ES), number needed to treat, relative risk, odds ratio, and incremental cost‐effectiveness ratio were calculated. The quality of evidence was categorised according to the level of evidence. The strength of recommendation (SOR) was assessed using the EULAR visual analogue and ordinal scales.
12 key propositions were generated after three Delphi rounds. Propositions included both non‐pharmacological and pharmacological treatments and addressed symptomatic control of acute gout, urate lowering therapy (ULT), and prophylaxis of acute attacks. The importance of patient education, modification of adverse lifestyle (weight loss if obese; reduced alcohol consumption; low animal purine diet) and treatment of associated comorbidity and risk factors were emphasised. Recommended drugs for acute attacks were oral non‐steroidal anti‐inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), oral colchicine (ES = 0.87 (95% confidence interval, 0.25 to 1.50)), or joint aspiration and injection of corticosteroid. ULT is indicated in patients with recurrent acute attacks, arthropathy, tophi, or radiographic changes of gout. Allopurinol was confirmed as effective long term ULT (ES = 1.39 (0.78 to 2.01)). If allopurinol toxicity occurs, options include other xanthine oxidase inhibitors, allopurinol desensitisation, or a uricosuric. The uricosuric benzbromarone is more effective than allopurinol (ES = 1.50 (0.76 to 2.24)) and can be used in patients with mild to moderate renal insufficiency but may be hepatotoxic. When gout is associated with the use of diuretics, the diuretic should be stopped if possible. For prophylaxis against acute attacks, either colchicine 0.5–1 mg daily or an NSAID (with gastroprotection if indicated) are recommended.
12 key recommendations for management of gout were developed, using a combination of research based evidence and expert consensus. The evidence was evaluated and the SOR provided for each proposition.
PMCID: PMC1798308  PMID: 16707532
EULAR; gout; guidelines; treatment
15.  Gout disease-specific quality of life and the association with gout characteristics 
Assess the association of gout characteristics with health-related quality of life (HRQoL) using a new gout-specific HRQoL instrument, the Gout Impact Scale (GIS).
Patients and methods
Gout patients completed the GIS (five scales [0–100 score each] representing impact of gout overall [three scales] and during an attack [two scales]) and other questions describing recent gout attacks, treatment, gout history, comorbidities, and demographics. Physicians confirmed gout diagnosis, presence of tophi, and most recent serum uric acid (sUA) level. Relationships between gout characteristics and GIS scores were examined using analysis of variance and correlation analyses.
The majority of patients were male (90.2%) with a mean age of 62.2 (±11.8) years. Approximately one-half (49.7%) reported ≥3 gout attacks in the past year and the majority (57.9%) reported experiencing gout-related pain between attacks. Patients had appreciable concern about their gout (“gout concern overall” scale, 63.1 ± 28.0) but believed their treatment was adequate (“unmet gout treatment need” scale (38.2 ± 21.4) below scale mid-point). Significantly worse GIS scores were associated with increasing attack frequency and greater amount of time with pain between attacks (most scales, P < 0.001). Common objective measures such as sUA level, presence of tophi and the number of joints involved in a typical attack did not appear to be good indicators of the impact of gout on the patients' HRQoL.
Attack frequency and gout pain between attacks were important correlates of patients' ratings of gout impact on their HRQoL. Further studies are needed to determine the minimal important difference for each GIS scale and interpret our results relative to other patient populations with gout.
PMCID: PMC3113652  PMID: 21686040
Gout impact scale; GIS; patient-reported outcomes
16.  Gout disease-specific quality of life and the association with gout characteristics 
Assess the association of gout characteristics with health-related quality of life (HRQoL) using a new gout-specific HRQoL instrument, the Gout Impact Scale (GIS).
Patients and methods:
Gout patients completed the GIS (five scales [0–100 score each] representing impact of gout overall [three scales] and during an attack [two scales]) and other questions describing recent gout attacks, treatment, gout history, comorbidities, and demographics. Physicians confirmed gout diagnosis, presence of tophi, and most recent serum uric acid (sUA) level. Relationships between gout characteristics and GIS scores were examined using analysis of variance and correlation analyses.
The majority of patients were male (90.2%) with a mean age of 62.2 (±11.8) years. Approximately one-half (49.7%) reported ≥3 gout attacks in the past year and the majority (57.9%) reported experiencing gout-related pain between attacks. Patients had appreciable concern about their gout (“gout concern overall” scale, 63.1 ± 28.0) but believed their treatment was adequate (“unmet gout treatment need” scale (38.2 ± 21.4) below scale mid-point). Significantly worse GIS scores were associated with increasing attack frequency and greater amount of time with pain between attacks (most scales, P < 0.001). Common objective measures such as sUA level, presence of tophi and the number of joints involved in a typical attack did not appear to be good indicators of the impact of gout on the patients’ HRQoL.
Attack frequency and gout pain between attacks were important correlates of patients’ ratings of gout impact on their HRQoL. Further studies are needed to determine the minimal important difference for each GIS scale and interpret our results relative to other patient populations with gout.
PMCID: PMC3113652  PMID: 21686040
Gout impact scale; GIS; patient-reported outcomes
17.  Minimally important differences of the gout impact scale in a randomized controlled trial 
Rheumatology (Oxford, England)  2011;50(7):1331-1336.
Objective. The Gout Impact Scale (GIS) is a gout-specific quality of life instrument that assesses impact of gout during an attack and impact of overall gout. The GIS has five scales and each is scored from 0 to 100 (worse health). Our objective was to assess minimally important differences (MIDs) for the GIS administered in a randomized controlled trial (RCT) assessing rilonacept vs placebo for prevention of gout flares during initiation of allopurinol therapy.
Methods. Trial subjects ( n = 83) included those with two or more gout flares (self-reported) in the past year. Of these, 73 had data for Weeks 8 vs 4 and formed the MID analysis group and were analysed irrespective of the treatment assignment. Subjects completed the GIS and seven patient-reported anchors. Subjects with a one-step change (e.g. from very poor to poor) were considered as the MID group for each anchor. The mean change in GIS scores and effect size (ES) was calculated for each anchor’s MID group. The average of these created the overall summary MID statistics for each GIS. An ES of 0.2–0.5 was considered to represent MID estimates.
Results. Trial subjects (n = 73) were males (96.0%), White (90.4%), with mean age of 50.5 years and serum uric acid of 9.0 mg/dl. The mean change score for the MID improvement group for scales ranged from −5.24 to −7.61 (0–100 scale). The ES for the MID improvement group for the four scales ranged from 0.22 to 0.38.
Conclusion. The MID estimates for GIS scales are between 5 and 8 points (0–100 scale). This information can aid in interpreting the GIS results in future gout RCTs.
Trial Registration.,, NCT00610363.
PMCID: PMC3307519  PMID: 21372003
Gout assessment questionnaire; Gout impact scale; Minimally important difference; Minimal clinically important differences; Rilonacept; Clinical trial design; Health-related quality of life; Health status
18.  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.
To determine the relevance of current gout Quality indicators (QIs).
Members of the Veterans Affairs Rheumatology Consortium were invited to participate in an online survey and provide opinions (rank 0–10) regarding existing gout QIs. Opinions sought on each QI were 1) relevance to United States Veterans, 2) likelihood to improve gout care, and 3) ease of electronic capture. Participants were also asked to rank their top 3 gout QIs.
Participating VA rheumatologists were mainly male, of mean age 51.3 years and experienced in the management of gout. All 10 gout QIs were considered relevant, with a score of 8.2 of higher. The initiation of urate lowering therapy, monitoring of urate levels after initiation of urate lowering therapy, and treatment of acute gout with anti-inflammatory agents scored the highest with regards to likely to improving gout care, with the first 2 QIs also felt to be most relevant. Adjustment of initial allopurinol dosing in patients with renal impairment and in those receiving concurrent azathioprine/6-mercaptopurine were perceived as the QIs most amenable to electronic capture. The top ranked QIs were initiation of urate-lowering therapy with frequent gout attacks, serum urate monitoring after initiation of urate lowering therapy and adjustment of initial allopurinol dose to renal function.
In a national survey of VA rheumatologists, most gout QIs were thought to be highly relevant. QIs related to initiation of urate lowering therapy, serum urate monitoring, and initial dosing of allopurinol were ranked the most important for veterans with gout.
PMCID: PMC2943024  PMID: 20235197
Quality Indicators; Gout; Veterans Affairs
19.  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:
PMCID: PMC3337326  PMID: 22316088
Gout; Disparity; Race; treatment; Febuxostat; Allopurinol; randomized; African-American
20.  Chronic tophaceous gout presenting as acute arthritis during an acute illness: a case report 
Cases Journal  2008;1:238.
Gout is a metabolic disease that can manifest as acute or chronic arthritis, and deposition of urate crystals in connective tissue and kidneys. It can either manifest as acute arthritis or chronic tophaceous gout.
Case presentation
We present a 39-year-old male patient who developed acute arthritis during his hospital course. Later on, after a careful physical examination, patient was found to have chronic tophaceous gout. The acute episode was successfully treated with colchicines and indomethacin.
Gout usually flares up during an acute illness, and should be considered while evaluating acute mono articular arthritis. Rarely, it can also present with tophi as an initial manifestation.
PMCID: PMC2572609  PMID: 18922154
21.  Reduced creatinine clearance is associated with early development of subcutaneous tophi in people with gout 
Although typically a late feature of gout, tophi may present early in the course of disease. The aim of this study was to identify factors associated with the presence of early tophaceous disease.
People with gout for <10 years were prospectively recruited, and had a comprehensive clinical assessment including examination for subcutaneous tophi. The clinical factors independently associated with the presence and number of tophi were analyzed using regression models.
Of the 290 participants, there were 47 (16.2%) with clinically apparent tophi. In univariate analysis, those with tophi were older, were more frequently taking diuretics and colchicine prophylaxis, and had lower creatinine clearance. The association between the presence of tophi and creatinine clearance was strongest in those with creatinine clearance ≤30 ml/min. In logistic regression analysis, creatinine clearance ≤30 ml/min was associated with the presence of tophi, even after adjusting for ethnicity, corticosteroid use, colchicine use and diuretic use (multivariate adjusted odds ratio 7.0, p = 0.005). Participants with tophi reported higher frequency of gout flares, pain scores, patient global assessment scores, and HAQ scores.
The presence of tophi is associated with more symptomatic disease in people with gout for <10 years. Creatinine clearance is independently associated with early presentation of subcutaneous tophi.
PMCID: PMC3878111  PMID: 24359261
Gout; Tophus; Kidney; Creatinine
22.  Sex differences in gout epidemiology: evaluation and treatment 
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases  2006;65(10):1368-1372.
Little is known about the characteristics, evaluation and treatment of women with gout.
To examine the epidemiological differences and differences in treatment between men and women in a large patient population.
The data from approximately 1.4 million people who were members of seven managed care plans in the USA for at least 1 year between 1 January 1999 and 31 December 2003 were examined. Adult members who had pharmacy benefits and at least two ambulatory claims specifying a diagnosis of gout were identified. In addition, men and women who were new users of urate‐lowering drugs (ULDs) were identified to assess adherence with recommended surveillance of serum urate levels within 6 months of initiating urate‐lowering treatment.
A total of 6133 people (4975 men and 1158 women) with two or more International Classification of Disease‐9 codes for gout were identified. As compared with men with gout, women were older (mean age 70 (SD 13) v 58 (SD 14), p<0.001) and had comorbidities and received diuretics more often (77% v 40%; p<0.001). Only 37% of new users of urate‐lowering treatment had appropriate surveillance of serum urate levels post‐initiation of urate‐lowering treatment. After controlling for age, comorbidities, gout treatments, number of ULD dispensings and health plan, women were more likely (odds ratio 1.36, 95% confidence interval 1.11 to 1.67) to receive the recommended serum urate level testing.
Women with gout were older, had greater comorbidities and more often used diuretics and received appropriate surveillance of serum urate levels, suggesting that the factors leading to gout as well as monitoring of treatment are very different in women and men.
PMCID: PMC1798311  PMID: 16644784
23.  Reassessing serum urate targets in the management of refractory gout: Can you go too low? 
Current opinion in rheumatology  2009;21(2):138-142.
Purpose of review
Growing awareness of patients with refractory gout is prompting a reassessment of treatment strategy. This article reviews the current practice of targeting serum urate concentrations (sUA) in the mid-normal range (roughly 4–6 mg/dL), and considers the rationale for more aggressively lowering sUA in patients with poorly controlled chronic gout. Some hypothetical concerns with inducing hypouricemia are considered, and relevant clinical evidence is evaluated.
Recent findings
Recent studies confirm the benefits of modestly reducing sUA in many gout patients. However, tophi and tissue stores of monosodium urate crystals resolve slowly, particularly in patients with longstanding disease. Consistent with physicochemical principles, the rate of decrease in tophus size increases with a reduction in sUA concentration over a broad range. Reducing sUA to near or below 2 mg/dL can be achieved in some patients with current urate lowering drugs, but new drugs now under investigation may be more effective. As a free radical scavenger, uric acid has been postulated to protect from oxidative stress. However, inherited disorders associated with profound, lifelong hypouricemia indicate that maintaining sUA near or below 2 mg/dL would probably be safe.
Targeting low sUA could improve the elimination of tissue urate stores and achieve better control of disease in patients with refractory gout.
PMCID: PMC2920449  PMID: 19339924
Gout; tophus; hypouricemia; pegloticase; febuxostat
24.  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.
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.
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.
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
PMCID: PMC3899617  PMID: 24433285
Xanthine oxidase inhibitor; Urate-lowering therapy; Reduced renal function; Hyperuricemia; Chronic kidney disease; Randomized controlled study; Placebo
25.  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

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