CHICAGO – Failure to reach the therapeutic target of a serum urate level below 6 mg/dL in gout patients is an independent risk factor for all-cause mortality conferring a 139% increased risk, , said at the annual meeting of the American College of Rheumatology.
This new finding from a prospective cohort study of 1,193 gout patients constitutes a ringing endorsement that a treat-to-target approach should become the standard in the management of this disease, declared Dr. Perez-Ruiz, a rheumatologist at Hospital Universitario Cruces, Barakaldo, Spain.
“This is encouraging news. We can say to patients and clinicians that we should make every effort to reach the therapeutic target. This is a concept that’s not new in medicine. We do it for diabetes, for hypertension, for hyperlipidemia, and I think now for the first time we will do it for gout,” the rheumatologist said at a press conference highlighting the study findings.
“A lot of physicians including, unfortunately, rheumatologists don’t treat gout to target. They feel like if a patient is doing nicely, that’s good enough. But it’s like lowering cholesterol: If you’re at 400 mg/dL and you go to 300, does that mean it’s fine and you won’t get a myocardial infarction?” he asked rhetorically.
The study included 1,193 gout patients with a mean age at baseline of 60 years, 6.8 years disease duration, and an average of 3-4 flares during the previous year. Mean follow-up was 48 months, translating to 4,830 patient-years of prospective observation. Overall mortality was 13%, mostly from cardiovascular causes.
The mean baseline serum urate level was 9.1 mg/dL. Although both ACR and EULAR guidelines recommend a serum urate level below 6 mg/dL as a therapeutic target, 16.3% of subjects had a level of 6 mg/dL or more despite treatment. The crude mortality rate during follow-up was 80.9 deaths per 1,000 person-years in those with serum urate levels of 6 mg/dL or more, compared with 25.7 per 1,000 person-years in patients with serum urate levels below 6 mg/dL. In a multivariate analysis adjusted for age, prior cardiovascular events, other comorbid conditions, sex, baseline serum urate level, alcohol intake, and other potential confounders, a serum urate of 6 mg/dL or more was independently associated with a 139% increased risk of mortality during follow-up.
“I think the message we would like to give to clinicians is, ‘If you can do that [i.e., maintain the serum urate level below 6 mg/dL], do it. You have the knowledge, you have the means, make the effort. Your patient will benefit from that. Don’t take risks,’” Dr. Perez-Ruiz said.
Session moderator, a rheumatologist at St. Vincent Hospital in Evansville, Ind., pronounced this a message she will take home to her clinical practice.
“What we usually see in clinical practice is that gout patients are among the most noncompliant. Once they stop hurting they just don’t see the need to take their medication daily. And now that we have this data, we can tell them that their gout medications are like statins, which help reduce the risk of heart attacks. Taking their gout medication will help them reduce their mortality risk. This information will help us to change patient perception,” she said.
Dr. Perez-Ruiz reported relationships with Amgen, Grünenthal, and Menarini.
SOURCE: Perez-Ruiz F et al. Arthritis Rheumatol. 2018;70(Suppl 10):