The FDA will soon approve a new drug for the treatment of Gout. Uloric is the first new gout treatment in 40 years and is manufactured by Takeda Pharmaceutical Company.
What is Gout?
Gout is a type of arthritis which attacks the joint of the big toe. The attack tends to occur at night and comes on quickly with swelling, redness, throbbing pain and stiffness. Attacks tend to recur and tend to worsen over time, causing damage to the joint.
Gout is caused by high levels of uric acid in the blood. Uric acid levels are increased in people who are overweight, drink too much alcohol or who eat large amounts of meat and fish containing purines. Organ meats are especially high in purines and should be avoided by anyone with gout.
Treatment For Gout
Previously the treatment of choice was Allopurinol which was the only FDA approved drug that prevents the formation of uric acid crystals. Allopurinol has a number of side effects that can prevent patients from taking enough of the medication to get the full benefit. Side effects include headache, diarrhea, rash and in some cases a hypersensitivity can develop that is fatal in 20%-30% of cases.
My husband has suffered a number of gout attacks over the years. Most of the time he is awakened in the night with the throbbing pain in his big toe that is so characteristic of this type of arthritis. The toe swells and becomes so inflamed that he is unable to wear a shoe or sock for several days. We found that if he takes Cholchizine as soon as an attack is apparent, the attack is short-circuited. He has also taken Allopurinol and had good results with that drug as well, although it did cause some stomach problems for him.
Benefits of Uloric
The new drug, Uloric has milder side effects including upper respiratory tract infections, muscle and connective tissue symptoms and diarrhea. In clinical trials Uloric was well tolerated and side effects did not increase with long term use. Uloric will be available in 40 milligram and 80 milligram doses.
An additional benefit to Uloric relates to patients with impaired kidney function. Since very little Uloric is excreted by the kidneys, even patients with kidney disease can use this drug without problems that were previously seen in the use of Allopurinol which was excreted via the kidneys. Gout patients with kidney problems could tolerate only small amounts of Allopurinol and usually not enough of the drug to improve their condition.