"Well-tolerated drugs that reduce the risk of gout flares when initiating uric-acid lowering therapy could make patients more likely to continue important long-term treatments that control gout," Schumacher said in the release.
"(And) this trial provides well-controlled evidence that this IL-1 blocker is effective in preventing acute gout flares in this setting," he added. "Rilonacept appears safe and well tolerated and could increase patient adherence to long-term urate-lowering therapy."
The study appeared online Jan. 5 in the journal Arthritis & Rheumatism.
Dr. Michael A. Becker, a professor emeritus of medicine at the University of Chicago, described the findings as "very promising." However, he cautioned that the high cost of rilonacept will most likely curtail its use.
"This is a very expensive drug," he said. "And insurance will be an issue. So I think you will have to carefully justify its use and define the universe of patients who are likely to be treated with it."
"But there are a number of patients who can't take a less expensive alternative, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, because of their kidney function or ulcer disease," Becker noted. "So for this population of patients who can't tolerate cheaper medications, rilonacept may be a necessary indication."
For more on gout, visit the U.S. National Library of Medicine.
-- Alan Mozes
SOURCE: Michael A. Becker, professor emeritus, medicine, University of Chicago; Arthritis & Rheumatism, news release, Jan. 5, 2012
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