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Cohort study investigating gout flares and management in UK general practice

Finnikin, Samuel; Mallen, Christian D.; Roddy, Edward


Samuel Finnikin


Background: Gout is the most common inflammatory arthritis and is almost exclusively managed in primary care, however the course and severity of the condition is variable and poorly characterised. This research aims improve understanding about the frequency of, and factors associated with, gout flares in the UK and characterise the factors associated with the initiation of ULT.

Methods: Using the Clinical Practice Research Database, patients with a coded incident gout diagnosis without a prior prescription for urate-lowering therapy (ULT) were identified. Gout flares post diagnosis and ULT initiation were identified through prescribing and coded data. Patient characteristics, co-morbidities and co-prescribing were co-variants. Factors associated with gout flares and ULT initiation were analysed using cox-proportional hazard model and logistic regression.

Results: Fifty-one thousand seven hundred eighty-four patients were identified: 18,605 (35.9%, 95%CI 35.5–36.3%) had experienced ≥ 1 recurrent flare, 17.4% (95%CI 17.1–17.8%) within 12 months of diagnosis. Male sex, black ethnicity, higher BMI, heart failure, CKD, CVD and diuretic use were associated with flares, with the highest HR seen with high serum urate levels (≥ 540 µmol/L HR 4.63, 95%CI 4.03–5.31). ULT initiation was associated with similar variables, although higher alcohol intake and older age were associated with lower odds of ULT initiation but were not associated with flares. ULT was initiated in 27.7% (95%CI 27.3–28.0%): 5.7% (95%CI 5.5–5.9%) within 12 months of diagnosis. ULT initiation rates were higher in patients with recurrent flares.

Conclusion: Approximately one in six people with incident gout had a second flare within 12 months. Factors associated with flare recurrence and ULT initiation were similar, but ULT initiation occurred later after diagnosis than previously thought.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Nov 6, 2023
Online Publication Date Nov 22, 2023
Deposit Date Nov 27, 2023
Journal BMC Primary Care
Print ISSN 2731-4553
Publisher BioMed Central
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 24
Issue 1
Pages 246
Keywords Gout, Management, Decision-making, Urate lowering therapy