The clinical efficacy of urate-lowering therapy in acute gout: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials

Abstract

Background

Gout is a common chronic disease with a high recurrence rate. To date, the debate continues about the best time for using urate lowering therapy (ULT) during an acute gout attack.

Objective

This updated meta-analysis is designed to assess the clinical efficacy of ULT in the management of acute exacerbations of gout. Through the results, we hope to determine whether uric acid lowering agents should be used to manage acute exacerbations of gout.

Methods

A comprehensive search of six databases without language restrictions includes PubMed, Cochrane Library, Web of Science, EMBASE, CNKI, and WanFang data. The literature used was published before October 2019. Six randomized controlled trials (RCTs) with 557 patients met the inclusion criteria. Standardized mean difference (SMD), weighted mean difference (WMD), risk ratio (RR), and 95% confidence interval (CI) were used for estimating the clinical efficacy of ULT in acute gout.

Results

Data results showed no statistical difference in the pain visual analogue score (VAS) by day 3 (weighted mean difference (WMD), 0.06; 95% CI, − 0.13 to 0.25; I2 0%; P = 0.55), erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) and C-reactive protein (CRP) between the group using uric acid lowering agents and the group that was not using such agents. Moreover, the patients using ULT agents had lower serum uric acid level (standardized mean difference (SMD), − 0.73; 95% CI, −0.92 to −0.54; I2 23%; P < 0.00001) and showed better adherence to medication (risk ratio (RR), 1.40; 95% CI, 1.18 to 1.65; I2 0%; P < 0.0001) as compared with the patients not that were not using such agents. However, there was no substantial difference in the recurrence rate of acute gout attacks (RR, 0.84; 95% CI, 0.59 to 1.19; I2 0%; P = 0.33).The evidence for this is, however, very moderate.

Conclusion

Our finding shows that it is beneficial in many aspects to use uric-acid-lowering drugs at the initial stage of an acute gout attack. However, larger sample size studies are still needed to prove our results.

Trial registration

Registration number: PROSPERO (CRD42020153924).

Key Points
• This is a first meta-analysis about the clinical efficacy of urate-lowering therapy (ULT) in acute gout without language restrictions.
• ULT in acute gout may not aggravate the pain (WMD, 0.06; 95% CI, − 0.13 to 0.25).
• ULT at the initial stage of an acute gout attack can reduce serum uric acid level (SMD, −0.73; 95% CI, − 0.92 to − 0.54) and improve medication compliance in patients (RR, 1.40; 95% CI, 1.18 to 1.65).
• ULT in acute gout is not associated with the risk of gout flares (RR, 0.84; 95% CI, 0.59 to 1.19).

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Acknowledgments

We would like to acknowledge the grants from the 01 National Science and Technology Major Project (No. 2018ZX01031201).

Funding

This work was supported by the grants from the 01 National Science and Technology Major Project (No. 2018ZX01031201).

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Correspondence to Dongsheng Wang or Qiuyan Li.

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Zhang, X., Tang, Y., Wang, M. et al. The clinical efficacy of urate-lowering therapy in acute gout: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Clin Rheumatol 40, 701–710 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10067-020-05215-z

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Keywords

  • Acute gout
  • Clinical efficacy
  • Meta-analysis
  • Urate-lowering therapy