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Arthritis Health Center

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New Gout Drug Twice as Effective

Febuxostat More Effective at Reducing Uric Acid Levels Than Standard Gout Drug

Febuxostat Hits Target

In the 28-week study, 1,067 people with gout received either placebo (fake) pills, allopurinol, or one of three doses of febuxostat (80, 120, or 240 milligrams). At all three doses, the new agent was more effective at bringing uric acid levels down than allopurinol and placebo.

By the end of the study, 48% of people who took 80 milligrams of febuxostat a day hit their target uric acid level, as did 65% of those taking 120 milligrams per day and 69% of those taking 240 milligrams per day. By contrast, just 22% of participants taking allpurinol hit their mark, and zero people in the placebo group did. What's more, side effects were equal across all groups.

Like allopurinol, febuxostat would be a maintenance medication for gout.

Works for People Who Can't Tolerate Allpurionol

Febuxostat has a different chemical structure than allpurinol, but it acts on the same enzyme that causes uric acid to rise, Wortmann explains.

"It's more potent than allopurinol, more selective, and it can be used in patients with kidney problems who cannot tolerate allopurinol," Wortmann says.

Though allopurinol has been used for 30 years and is considered to be a safe drug, serious side effects can occur -- especially in patients with kidney problems. These side effects are collectively known as allopurinol hypersensitivity syndrome and include widespread rash, fever, mouth sores, poor kidney function, liver inflammation, and other complications.

"It's an excellent agent for patients who can't tolerate or who have had bad reaction to allopurinol," Wortmann says.

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