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Clinical trial demonstrates that rilonacept significantly reduces gout flares
Date:1/4/2012

A phase II clinical trial found that rilonacept, an inhibitor of the protein interleukin-1 (IL-1), significantly reduced acute gout flares that occur when initiating uric acid-lowering therapy. Results of the trialthe first placebo-controlled study investigating IL-1 targeted therapy in prevention of gout flaresshow rilonacept to be generally well tolerated with no serious infections or treatment-related serious adverse events reported. Full findings are published in Arthritis & Rheumatism, a journal of the American College of Rheumatology (ACR).

Patients with gouta type of inflammatory arthritis caused by the crystallization of urates in soft tissuesexperience severe pain and swelling, often affecting the feet. A recent study also published in Arthritis & Rheumatism reported that doctor-diagnosed gout has risen over the past twenty years and now affects 8.3 million individuals in the U.S. Previous research shows that while gout attacks typically resolve spontaneously over several days, urate crystals remain in the joint, which can lead to recurrent attacks and if left untreated may permanently damage joints.

"To reduce deposits of crystals in the joints, we advise patients to initiate treatment with medications that lower levels of uric acid in the blood," said lead investigator Dr. H. Ralph Schumacher, Jr., Professor of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. The authors explain that in the early months of urate-lowering therapy, as crystal deposits are broken up, patients may experience gout attacks that are proposed to be due to the release of crystals from softened deposits. These urate crystals interact with cells that release interleukin-1 (IL-1) which can lead to a cascade of inflammation and acute joint pain flares.

Previous research has found that acute gout attacks brought on by uric acid-lowering therapy may make patients less likely to continue treatment. "Well tolerated drugs that reduce
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Contact: Dawn Peters
healthnews@wiley.com
781-388-8408
Wiley-Blackwell
Source:Eurekalert

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