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1.  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
2.  Febuxostat: the evidence for its use in the treatment of hyperuricemia and gout 
Core evidence  2010;4:25-36.
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.
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
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 urate-lowering efficacy and safety of febuxostat in the treatment of the hyperuricemia of gout: the CONFIRMS trial 
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.
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.
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.
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
PMCID: PMC2888216  PMID: 20370912
5.  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
6.  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.
PMCID: PMC3108771  PMID: 21694941
hyperuricemia; metabolic syndrome; tophi; colchicine; febuxostat; allopurinol
7.  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
8.  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
9.  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.
PMCID: PMC3480742  PMID: 23112391
Gout; hyperuricemia; xanthine oxidase inhibitor
10.  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.
PMCID: PMC3902994  PMID: 23683134
clinical trial; diabetes mellitus; drug utilisation
11.  Efficacy and safety of febuxostat in the treatment of hyperuricemia in stable kidney transplant recipients 
Post-transplant hyperuricemia (PTHU), defined as serum uric acid concentration ≥7.0 mg/dL or need for treatment with allopurinol or benzbromarone, reduces long-term allograft survival in kidney transplant recipients. Febuxostat, a new nonpurine selective xanthine oxidase inhibitor, is well tolerated in patients with moderate renal impairment. However, its efficacy and safety in kidney recipients with PTHU is unclear. We therefore assessed the efficacy and safety of febuxostat in stable kidney transplant recipients with PTHU.
Of 93 stable adult kidney transplant recipients, 51 were diagnosed with PTHU (PTHU group) and 42 were not (NPTHU group). Of the 51 patients with PTHU, 26 were treated with febuxostat (FX group) and 25 were not (NFX group), at the discretion of each attending physician. One-year changes in serum uric acid concentrations, rates of achievement of target uric acid (<6.0 mg/dL), estimated glomerular filtration rates in allografts, and adverse events were retrospectively analyzed in the FX, NFX, and NPTHU groups.
The FX group showed significantly greater decreases in serum uric acid (−2.0±1.1 mg/dL versus 0.0±0.8 mg/dL per year, P<0.01) and tended to show a higher rate of achieving target uric acid levels (50% versus 24%; odds ratio 3.17 [95% confidence interval 0.96–10.5], P=0.08) than the NFX group. Although baseline allograft estimated glomerular filtration rates tended to be lower in the FX group than in the NFX group (40±14 mL/min/1.73 m2 versus 47±19 mL/min/1.73 m2), changes in allograft estimated glomerular filtration rate were similar (+1.0±4.9 mL/min/1.73 m2 versus −0.2±6.9 mL/min/1.73 m2 per year, P=0.50). None of the patients in the FX group experienced any severe adverse effects, such as pancytopenia or attacks of gout, throughout the entire study period. Nephrologists were more likely than urologists to start febuxostat in kidney transplant recipients with PTHU (69% versus 8%).
Treatment with febuxostat sufficiently lowered uric acid levels without severe adverse effects in stable kidney transplant recipients with PTHU.
PMCID: PMC3933431  PMID: 24600205
post-transplant hyperuricemia; febuxostat; uric acid; chronic kidney disease
12.  Clinical and health care use characteristics of patients newly prescribed allopurinol, febuxostat and colchicine for gout 
Arthritis care & research  2013;65(12):2008-2014.
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.
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.
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.
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.
PMCID: PMC4096791  PMID: 23861232
gout; allopurinol; febuxostat; colchicine
13.  Rasburicase represents a new tool for hyperuricemia in tumor lysis syndrome and in gout 
Hyperuricemia is a feature of several pathologies and requires an appropriate and often early treatment, owing to the severe consequences that it may cause. A rapid and massive raise of uric acid, during tumor lysis syndrome (TLS), and also a lower and chronic hyperuricemia, as in gout, mainly damage the kidney. To prevent or treat these consequences, a new therapeutic option is represented by rasburicase, a recombinant form of an enzyme, urate oxidase. This enzyme converts hypoxanthine and xanthine into allantoin, a more soluble molecule, easily cleared by kidney. The several types of urate oxidase have followed each other, with progressive reduction of adverse reactions. The most important among them are allergenicity and the development of antibodies which compromise their effectiveness. Nevertheless, a limit of rasburicase's use remains its cost, which obliges to a judicious choice to prevent TLS in high risk patients with cancer and in case of allergy or impossibility to take allopurinol orally both in TLS and in gout. A large body of evidence confirms the efficacy and safety of rasburicase, even in comparison to the standard drugs used in the aforementioned pathologies.
PMCID: PMC1838823  PMID: 17396159
Urate oxidase; allantoin; rasburicase; hyperuricemia; tumor lysis syndrome; acute renal failure; gout; allopurinol; uric acid
14.  Tophaceous Gout and Renal Insufficiency: A New Solution for an Old Therapeutic Dilemma 
Case Reports in Medicine  2011;2011:397646.
The prevalence of gout is increasing with increased life expectancy. Approximately half of the patients with gout have some degree of renal impairment. If both conditions persistently coexist, and in severe tophaceous gout, in particular, treatment has been difficult. We here report on the case of an 87-year-old woman, who had been suffering from recurrent gouty arthritis over 4 years. Monthly polyarthritis attacks were accompanied by subcutaneous tophi. Serum uric acid levels were constantly above 600 μmol/L (10 mg/dL). Allopurinol was no option because of intolerance, while benzbromarone was ineffective because of renal impairment. Therefore, the novel xanthin oxidase inhibitor febuxostat was started, achieving rapid control of serum urate levels (<360 μmol/L). After initial worsening of inflammation in the first weeks, gouty attacks stopped and all tophi resolved within the following 10 months. Renal function remained stable.
PMCID: PMC3099210  PMID: 21629805
15.  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
16.  Hypouricemic effect and safety of febuxostat used for prevention of tumor lysis syndrome 
SpringerPlus  2014;3:501.
We evaluated the efficacy and safety of febuxostat, a non-purine xanthine oxidase inhibitor, used for prevention of hyperuricemia associated with tumor lysis syndrome (TLS).
Records of adult patients with newly diagnosed or relapsed hematologic malignancies who received febuxostat within 7 days before initiation of chemotherapy were retrieved retrospectively at a single institute. The changes in serum uric acid levels from before and 7 days after initiation of febuxostat were evaluated and compared with the historical control group of patients who received allopurinol. We also evaluated non-hematological adverse events during the study period.
A total of 78 patients’ records were analyzed, 38 in the febuxostat group and 39 in the allopurinol group. There were no significant differences in the incidence of treatment failure, defined as development of clinical TLS or receiving rasburicase, between the febuxostat and allopurinol group (5.2% vs 5.1%, P>0.99). The mean serum uric acid levels were significantly decreased, compared to the baseline (5.6 ± 2.1 mg/dL), at 7 days after initiation of febuxostat (3.1 ± 1.5 mg/dL, last observation carried forward, P<0.001). There were no statistically significant differences in the percent change in the serum uric acid levels between the 40 mg/day febuxostat and the 300 mg/day allopurinol groups (P = 0.57). Grade 3–4 liver dysfunctions were observed in both the febuxostat and allopurinol groups, without significant differences in incidence between the two groups (2.6% vs 5.1%, P>0.99). Neither gout flare nor skin rash occurred in any patients.
Febuxostat is feasible for prevention of hyperuricemia associated with TLS.
PMCID: PMC4164671  PMID: 25279293
Febuxostat; Allopurinol; Hyperuricemia; Tumor lysis syndrome; Cancer chemotherapy
17.  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
18.  Efficacy and safety of febuxostat in elderly female patients 
Maintenance of low serum urate levels is important for the management of gout. Achieving the recommended serum urate levels of less than 6.0 mg/dL is difficult in elderly (65 years of age or older) patients with renal impairment. Xanthine oxidase inhibitors allopurinol and febuxostat are used for this purpose. Although febuxostat had been shown to be efficacious in elderly patients, its safety and efficacy in elderly female patients with hyperuricemia remain unclear.
The aim of this study was to assess the efficacy and safety of febuxostat in elderly female patients.
We studied a retrospective cohort study. The study included elderly Japanese patients (65 years of age or older) who were treated with febuxostat at Fujita Health University Hospital from January 2012 to December 2013. The treatment goal was defined as achievement of serum urate levels of 6.0 mg/dL or lower within 16 weeks; this was the primary endpoint in the present study. Adverse events of febuxostat were defined as more than twofold increases in Common Terminology Criteria for adverse events scores from baseline.
We evaluated 82 patients treated with febuxostat during the observation period and classified them into male (n=53) and female (n=29) groups. The mean time to achievement of the treatment goal was significantly shorter in the female group (53 days) than in the male group (71 days). There were no significant differences in adverse events between the 2 groups.
Our findings suggest that the efficacy of febuxostat in elderly female patients is superior to that in elderly male patients and that the safety is equivalent.
PMCID: PMC4158997  PMID: 25214776
febuxostat; elderly female patients; hyperuricemia
19.  Urate Lowering Therapy with Febuxostat in Daily Practice—A Multicentre, Open-Label, Prospective Observational Study 
Introduction. Febuxostat, a novel xanthine oxidase inhibitor for the treatment of symptomatic hyperuricemia, showed superiority over allopurinol in the reduction of serum uric acid levels in pivotal studies. Whether this holds true the FORTE (febuxostat in the oral urate lowering treatment: effectiveness and safety) study was conducted to evaluate treatment with febuxostat under daily practice conditions. Materials/Methods. The multicentre, open-label, and prospective observational study was conducted in 1,690 German medical practices from 9/2010 to 5/2011. Safety and efficacy data were assessed at baseline and week 4. Results. Data from 5,592 gout patients (72.6% male, mean age 63.7 years) were collected. Under urate lowering treatment with febuxostat mean serum uric acid levels decreased significantly from 8.9 ± 1.9 mg/dL (534.0 ± 114.6 μmol/L) at baseline to 6.2 ± 2.5 mg/dL (372.0 ± 150.0 μmol/L) at week 4. 67% which reached the mean uric acid target (6.1 ± 1.0 mg/dL [366.0 ± 59.4 μmol/L]). Only 43.1% of patients received concomitant flare prophylaxis. A total of 178 adverse events (mostly gout flares) were reported in 152 patients (2.6%). Conclusion. Febuxostat lowers serum uric acid levels effectively in routine clinical practice. Overall, treatment with febuxostat in both available dosages (80 mg/120 mg) was safe and well tolerated.
PMCID: PMC4167949  PMID: 25276138
20.  Advances in the management of gout: Critical appraisal of febuxostat in the control of hyperuricemia 
Gout recently passed rheumatoid arthritis to become the most common inflammatory arthritis in the United States (US). However, epidemiologic studies indicate that the quality of gout management is suboptimal owing to both patient and physician issues. Only three options for urate-lowering therapy are currently available in the US: allopurinol, probenecid, and recently, febuxostat. Probenecid is generally safe except for the occurrence of urolithiasis, but is only effective for the subset of patients with better kidney function. Allopurinol use is limited due to its side effects, potential toxicity of uncertain magnitude in patients with renal disease, and failure to achieve targeted serum urate levels. In part this failure may be due to the necessity for it to be titrated for optimal therapeutic effect. Febuxostat is a new medication that may offer several advantages and can be given as an alternative to allopurinol. We review the basic biology and clinical performance of febuxostat, and consider the potential utility of this agent in comparison to the older, better-established gout therapeutics.
PMCID: PMC3108781  PMID: 21694922
allopurinol; gout suppressants; nephrolithiasis; uric acid; urolithiasis
21.  Febuxostat for treating chronic gout 
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.
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 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.
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
22.  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.
PMCID: PMC3539261  PMID: 23342241
febuxostat; gout; hyperuricemia; inflammasome; interleukin-1; pegloticase; uric acid
23.  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.
PMCID: PMC2990989  PMID: 20959031
24.  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.
PMCID: PMC2745774  PMID: 19664185
25.  Switching from allopurinol to febuxostat for the treatment of hyperuricemia and renal function in patients with chronic kidney disease 
Clinical Rheumatology  2014;33(11):1643-1648.
Hyperuricemia is a frequent complication of chronic kidney disease (CKD). Febuxostat is a novel xanthine oxidase inhibitor that is metabolized by many metabolic pathways in the kidney and the liver. We performed a 1-year cohort study of 73 hyperuricemic patients who had an estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) below 45 ml/min and were being treated with urate-lowering therapy. In 51 patients, treatment was changed from allopurinol to febuxostat, and the other 22 patients were continued on allopurinol. The serum levels of uric acid (UA) level, creatinine, and other biochemical parameters were measured at baseline and after 3, 6, 9, and 12 months of treatment. The serum UA levels significantly decreased from 6.1 ± 1.0 to 5.7 ± 1.2 mg/dl in the febuxostat group and significantly increased from 6.2 ± 1.1 to 6.6 ± 1.1 mg/dl in the allopurinol group. The eGFR decreased 27.3 to 25.7 ml/min in the febuxostat group and from 26.1 to 19.9 ml/min in the allopurinol group. The switch from allopurinol to febuxostat was significantly associated with the changes in eGFR according to a multiple regression analysis (β = −0.22145, P < 0.05). Febuxostat reduced the serum UA levels and slowed the progression of renal disease in our CKD cohort in comparison with allopurinol.
PMCID: PMC4192559  PMID: 25048744
Allopurinol; Chronic kidney disease; eGFR; Febuxostat; Hyperuricemia; Uric acid

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