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Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci. 2016 Mar;20(5):983-92.

Urate lowering therapies in the treatment of gout: a systematic review and meta-analysis.

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University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy.



In patients with gout, serum uric acid (sUA) concentrations should be lowered at least below the target of 6 mg/dL (even below 5 mg/dL in patients with severe gout). To achieve this goal, urate lowering medications (ULMs) should be considered. Currently-used ULMs include xanthine-oxidase inhibitors such as allopurinol, febuxostat, as well as available uricosuric agents. However, evidence comparing these agents remains scant. We have conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis to retrieve evidence on the clinical trials on the above-mentioned drugs in the treatment of gout.


The following efficacy outcomes were considered in the meta-analysis: (1) % of patients meeting the therapeutic target for sUA level (<6 mg/dl) and (2) percentage reduction in sUA concentration at the end of the study compared with baseline values. An explorative analysis on safety was also conducted.


In total, 16 papers concerned febuxostat, 15 allopurinol, 4 benzbromarone and none involved probenecid. Overall, 70.7% of patients reached the target of sUA with febuxostat therapy; the reduction in sUA was 45.3%. Corresponding figures with allopurinol were 44.4% and 33.8%, respectively. The number of patients on benzbromarone (N=129) was too low to retrieve definitive findings. The advantage for febuxostat over allopurinol was evident also in patients with renal dysfunction. Safety analysis favored febuxostat over allopurinol (OR 0.85; 95% CI: 0.75-0.97).


On the basis of the reported data, febuxostat can play a major role in the treatment of hyperuricaemia and gout. Febuxostat is a suitable pharmacological option for first line treatment of gout, given its established efficacy and safety, documented in a high number of clinical studies and in daily practice.

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