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JOURNAL ARTICLE

Optimisation of the treatment of acute gout

F Perez-Ruiz, F J Mielgo, A M Beites
BioDrugs: Clinical Immunotherapeutics, Biopharmaceuticals and Gene Therapy 2000, 13 (6): 415-23
18034548
Most of the drugs prescribed to treat acute gouty attacks were used before the introduction of modern clinical trials. Thus, there are few well-designed studies available to evaluate these drugs. Nevertheless, worldwide clinical experience supports the use of most nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), colchicine and corticosteroids in the treatment of acute gout. Colchicine has been widely used but toxicity, especially gastrointestinal adverse effects, are a major concern. Therapeutic regimens involving hourly or 2-hourly administration were based on the short initial half-life of colchicine in plasma. Other therapy schedules, such as early 8-hourly administration, may be equally effective and have fewer adverse effects. Unfortunately, comparative studies to investigate this have not been performed. Colchicine should not be prescribed to patients with either severe renal insufficiency or combined hepatic-renal insufficiency. Doses should be halved in patients with moderate renal function impairment. NSAIDs are the most widely prescribed drugs in the treatment of acute gout. Few comparative data are available, but any of the most potent NSAIDs are probably useful in the control of pain and inflammatory signs of acute gouty arthritis. Pharmacokinetic properties should be taken into account when selecting an NSAID for the treatment of gout, as rapid absorption and a short half-life may help to avoid accumulation in patients with subclinical renal function impairment. Comorbidities should always be kept in mind when prescribing NSAIDs. Patients with previous or recent gastrointestinal bleeding, those receiving anticoagulant therapy or with haemorrhage diathesis, and those with renal insufficiency are at risk of developing severe adverse effects from NSAID administration. Corticosteroids are probably a reasonable choice for patients in whom colchicine and NSAIDs may be hazardous or for those with a history of previous intolerance to these drugs. Few trials using prednisone, prednisolone or triamcinolone acetonide are available, and dosages are prescribed following empirical data. Corticotropin has also been used to treat acute gout. Although it has been proven to be as effective as other corticosteroids or indomethacin, the need for multiple doses, parenteral administration and the high cost are major limitations for its use. Currently, the choice of a drug for the treatment of acute gout will depend on the balance between its efficacy and the potential adverse effects in a particular patient.

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