Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Gout epidemiology: results from the UK General Practice Research Database, 1990–1999
  1. T R Mikuls1,
  2. J T Farrar2,
  3. W B Bilker2,
  4. S Fernandes2,
  5. H R Schumacher Jr3,
  6. K G Saag4
  1. 1Department of Medicine, University of Nebraska Medical Center, and Omaha VA Medical Center, Omaha, NE, USA
  2. 2Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics and Center for Education and Research in Therapeutics (CERT), University of Pennsylvania, USA
  3. 3Philadelphia VA Medical Center, Philadelphia, PA, USA
  4. 4Department of Medicine and Center for Education and Research in Therapeutics (CERT) in Musculoskeletal Disorders, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL, USA
  1. Correspondence to:
    Dr K G Saag
    Department of Medicine, Division of Clinical Immunology and Rheumatology, 510 20th Street South, FOT 8th Floor, Birmingham, AL 35294, USA;


Objective: To examine the epidemiology of gout and gout treatment in the United Kingdom using a large national practice based population.

Methods: Data from the UK General Practice Research Database from 1990 to 1999 were examined. Physician diagnoses and drug codes were used, and trends in gout incidence and treatment examined. Additionally, disease prevalence for the year 1999 was assessed. To examine the association of gout with comorbid disease, the prevalence of select health conditions and drug use was compared with the corresponding prevalences seen in osteoarthritis, adjusting for both age and sex.

Results: From 1 January 1990 to 31 December 1999 overall gout incidence remained relatively stable, ranging from a low of 11.9 cases (95% confidence interval (CI) 11.5 to 12.3) in 1991 to a high of 18.0 cases (95% CI 17.6 to 18.4) per 10 000 patient-years in 1994. Gout prevalence in 1999 was 1.4% with rates approaching 7% in men over the age of 65. Drugs used for the treatment of gout remained constant in prevalent cases with the exception of a significant decline in non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug use over the 10 year follow up. Compared with patients with osteoarthritis, patients with gout were significantly more likely to have cardiovascular disease, hypertension, diabetes, and chronic renal failure, and were more likely to have used diuretics or ciclosporin, or both.

Conclusion: Although gout is common in the UK, particularly among older men, the incidence of the disease seems to have remained stable during the 1990s.

  • CI, confidence interval
  • GPRD, General Practice Research Database
  • NSAIDs, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
  • OR, odds ratio
  • General Practice Research Database
  • epidemiology
  • gout
  • incidence
  • prevalence

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.