Introduction Many doctors believe that patients with gout are unwilling to receive urate-lowering therapy (ULT) and blame them for poor adherence to management.
Objective To test the effectiveness of a complex intervention for gout that incorporates key elements of current guidelines, including full patient information, delivered in an optimal setting (specialist hospital clinic).
Method Observational study of patients reporting ongoing attacks of gout recruited from primary care lists. 106 participants (94 men, 12 women; mean age 61 years) were enrolled in the study. Patients received a predominantly nurse-delivered intervention that included education, individualised lifestyle advice and appropriate ULT. The predefined goal was to achieve serum uric acid (SUA) levels ≤360 μmol/l after 1 year in at least 70% of participants.
Results Of the 106 participants at baseline, 16% had tophi; mean (SD) baseline SUA was 456 (98) µmol/l. All participants agreed to joint aspiration to confirm gout and all wished to receive ULT. At 12 months, 92% of the 106 participants had achieved the therapeutic target (SUA≤360 µmol); 85% had SUA <300 µmol/l. Allopurinol was the most commonly used ULT, requiring a median dose of 400 mg daily to achieve the target. Improvements in Short Form-36 were observed (significant for pain) after 1 year.
Conclusion A predominantly nurse-led intervention including education, lifestyle advice and ULT can successfully achieve the recommended treatment target in more than 9 out of 10 patients. Full explanation and discussion about the nature of gout and its treatment options and individualisation of management probably account for this success.
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