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Characteristics, Comorbidities, and Potential Consequences of Uncontrolled Gout: An Insurance-Claims Database Study


Rheumatol Ther. 2021 Mar;8(1):183-197. doi: 10.1007/s40744-020-00260-1. Epub 2020 Dec 7.

Megan Francis-Sedlak 1Brian LaMoreaux 2Lissa Padnick-Silver 2Robert J Holt 2Alfonso E Bello 3

Author Information

1 Horizon Therapeutics plc, 150 South Saunders Road, Lake Forest, IL, 60045, USA. mfrancis-sedlak@horizontherapeutics.com.

2 Horizon Therapeutics plc, 150 South Saunders Road, Lake Forest, IL, 60045, USA.

3 Illinois Bone and Joint Institute, 2401 Ravine Way, Glenview, IL, 60025, USA.


Introduction: Gout is a common, progressive, systemic inflammatory arthritis caused by hyperuricemia. Current guidelines recommend that serum uric acid (sUA) levels be maintained below 6.0 mg/dl to minimize acute gout attacks, tophi development, and long-term joint and organ damage. This study examined the influence of uncontrolled gout on post-diagnosis comorbidities and medication use.

Methods: The Humana Research Database (2007-2016, commercial insurance and Medicare) was searched (PearlDiver tool) for patients who had a gout diagnosis code, claims data for at least 6 months before and after diagnosis, and at least 90 days of continuous urate-lowering therapy within 1 year of diagnosis. Patients with controlled (all sUA measurements < 6.0 mg/dl) and uncontrolled (all sUA measurements ≥ 8.0 mg/dl) gout were further examined and compared to better understand the influence of uncontrolled gout on post-diagnosis comorbidities, medication use, and reasons for seeking medical care.

Results: A total of 5473 and 1358 patients met inclusion and classification criteria for the controlled and uncontrolled groups, respectively. Identified comorbidities in both groups included hypertension, hyperlipidemia, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and chronic kidney disease (CKD). However, the uncontrolled group was more likely to have diabetes, CKD, and cardiovascular disease (including heart failure and atrial fibrillation). Additionally, CKD tended to be more advanced in the uncontrolled gout population (Stage 4-5: 34.6 vs. 22.2%). Overall opioid use was higher in uncontrolled patients.

Conclusions: The current study identified differences between controlled and uncontrolled gout patients, including usage of medication, severity of CKD, and prevalence of CKD, diabetes, and heart disease.