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J Med Econ. 2011;14(1):10-5. doi: 10.3111/13696998.2010.540874. Epub 2010 Dec 7.

Work productivity loss due to flares in patients with chronic gout refractory to conventional therapy.

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  • 1Department of Rheumatology, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, USA.



Joint pain and swelling during gout flares may lead to considerable morbidity and disability, having an impact on patient work productivity and social participation. The objective of this study was to assess how gout flares affect these activities in patients with chronic gout refractory to conventional therapy.


A 1-year prospective observational study was conducted among patients with symptomatic disease in the United States in 2001. Inclusion criteria required patients (1) to be age 18 years or older, (2) to have documented, crystal-proven gout, (3) to have symptomatic gout, and (4) to be intolerant or unresponsive to conventional therapy, reflected by SUA ≥ 6.0 mg/dL. Patients were evaluated every 2 months. At each visit, patients completed a gout diary, which included number of flares experienced, duration and severity of each flare, and whether the flare caused: (1) work loss, (2) missed appointments or social events, or (3) impairment of self-care activities. The Short-Form Health Survey (SF-36) was also completed each visit.


Analyses were restricted to those who completed the first 6 months of the study (n = 81). Mean number of flares per patient per year was 8.8. Of the patients who were <65 years, 78% reported at least 1 work day lost due to a gout attack during the year. Mean annual work day loss for those <65 years was 25.1 days. A total of 545 of patients reported at least one flare per year that impaired social activities, with a mean of 17.1 social days lost and 52% reported at least one flare per year that compromised normal self-care activities, with a mean of 16.9 days impairment. Correlations between the diary reports and activity-related questions from the SF-36 were significantly positive.


The study is limited by small sample size, lack of reference group, and inability to explicitly collect employment information. Age under 65 years was used as a proxy for employment eligibility.


Flares in patients with chronic gout refractory to conventional therapy significantly affect patient work productivity and social activities.

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