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Gout Drug Shows Promise

Injected rilonacept effective in easing pain, study finds

FRIDAY, Nov. 9 (HealthDay News) -- A drug called rilonacept (IL-1 Trap) may reduce disease activity and pain in patients with chronic active gout.

That's according to a non-randomized, single-blind, placebo-controlled study of 10 patients, average age 62, who had gout for an average of 13 years.

The study was led by Dr. Robert Terkeltaub of the VA Medical Center and University of California, San Diego.

Gout is a painful and potentially disabling form of arthritis. Initial symptoms usually consist of painful swelling in single joints, especially the big toe.

Rilonacept -- a new drug being tested in the treatment of inflammatory conditions -- prevents a protein called interleukin-1 from attaching to cell surface receptors and causing disease flare-up.

The patients in the study received twice-weekly injections of a placebo, followed by six weekly injections of rilonacept. In the second through eighth week of treatment, 70 percent of the patients had at least a 50 percent improvement in pain, and 60 percent of the patients had at least a 75 percent improvement in pain. There was no improvement in pain when the patients received the placebo.

By the eighth week of treatment, there was a 59 percent decrease in inflammation levels.

The study was to presented Nov. 9 at the American College of Rheumatology meeting in Boston.

More information

The American Academy of Family Physicians has more about gout.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: American College of Rheumatology, news release, Nov. 7, 2007

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