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Urate lowering therapies in the treatment of gout: a systematic review and meta-analysis

C Borghi, F Perez-Ruiz
European Review for Medical and Pharmacological Sciences 2016, 20 (5): 983-92
27010159

OBJECTIVE: In patients with gout, serum uric acid (sUA) concentrations should be lowered at least below the target of 6 mg/dL (even below 5 mg/dL in patients with severe gout). To achieve this goal, urate lowering medications (ULMs) should be considered. Currently-used ULMs include xanthine-oxidase inhibitors such as allopurinol, febuxostat, as well as available uricosuric agents. However, evidence comparing these agents remains scant. We have conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis to retrieve evidence on the clinical trials on the above-mentioned drugs in the treatment of gout.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: The following efficacy outcomes were considered in the meta-analysis: (1) % of patients meeting the therapeutic target for sUA level (<6 mg/dl) and (2) percentage reduction in sUA concentration at the end of the study compared with baseline values. An explorative analysis on safety was also conducted.

RESULTS: In total, 16 papers concerned febuxostat, 15 allopurinol, 4 benzbromarone and none involved probenecid. Overall, 70.7% of patients reached the target of sUA with febuxostat therapy; the reduction in sUA was 45.3%. Corresponding figures with allopurinol were 44.4% and 33.8%, respectively. The number of patients on benzbromarone (N=129) was too low to retrieve definitive findings. The advantage for febuxostat over allopurinol was evident also in patients with renal dysfunction. Safety analysis favored febuxostat over allopurinol (OR 0.85; 95% CI: 0.75-0.97).

CONCLUSIONS: On the basis of the reported data, febuxostat can play a major role in the treatment of hyperuricaemia and gout. Febuxostat is a suitable pharmacological option for first line treatment of gout, given its established efficacy and safety, documented in a high number of clinical studies and in daily practice.

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