March 14, 2018

Study determines cardiovascular safety of medication for gout patients

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ken saag 2017Ken Saag, M.D.In a collaborative study published by The New England Journal of Medicine, rheumatologists researched the relative cardiovascular safety of drugs used to manage gout, as there is a high association of cardiovascular disease in gout patients.

The study compared cardiovascular outcomes of patients with gout, as patients were randomly assigned either febuxostat, a non-purine xanthine oxidase inhibitor, or the purine base analog xanthine oxidase inhibitor allopurinol. Research found that there were no differences in planned cardiovascular outcomes between the two drugs, but there was an increase in death due to cardiovascular disease when comparing febuxostat with allopurinol.

“Gout is a serious inflammatory disease that is the most common form of arthritis in men,” said study co-author Kenneth Saag, M.D., M.Sc., professor and Lowe Professor of Medicine in the University of Alabama at Birmingham Division of Clinical Immunology and Rheumatology. “There is a higher rate of heart disease among persons with gout, and there is some evidence that better control of gout and the associated increase in high serum urate levels, which cause gout, could prevent bad cardiovascular outcomes such as heart attacks and strokes. It is unclear why a medicine such as febuxostat could be associated with higher cardiovascular death rates than allopurinol, but this is being investigated further.”

The study’s findings will help physicians with future research that will help determine the best course of treatment for gout patients who may also be predisposed to cardiovascular disease.