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Arthritis Health Center

New Drug May Help Fight Severe Gout

Study Shows Rilonacept Decreases Pain in Gout Patients
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Gout Symptoms continued...

In the new study of 10 people (average age 62) with severe, chronic gout, participants received two weekly injections of a dummy drug followed by six weekly injections of rilonacept. In the second through eighth week of the study, 70% of participants had at least a 50% improvement in their pain; 60% of participants had at least a 75% improvement in their pain. By contrast, none of the participants showed improvement while they were receiving the dummy injections.

Levels of C-reactive protein in the blood, a marker of inflammation, decreased about 59% by the end of rilonacept therapy. Mild to moderate reactions at the drug injection sites were reported, but there were no deaths or serious adverse effects reported from this study. 

"It's really gratifying to see patients that are considered the worst of the worst respond," Terkeltaub says. "If it works in the worst of the worst, we are hopeful it will work in the less than worst of the worst."

Michael Hershfield, MD, a professor of medicine and biochemistry at Duke University School of Medicine in Durham, N.C., tells WebMD that "a drug like this or any other that blocks IL-1 could prevent flares that occur when we are having a dramatic effect in lowering uric acid levels. The two could work very well together." Hershfield developed a new uric-acid-lowering drug called pEG-Uricase, which is now in clinical trials.

All in all, the new drug "looks very promising," he says. "There is a lot more recognition of the problem of severe refractory gout and a lot of people working on different approaches at the anti-inflammatory and the uric-acid-lowering level," he says.

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