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Majority of Gout Patients Don't Take Their Medication

Most also do not follow up with urine testing once starting meds

THURSDAY, July 20 (HealthDay News) -- Most gout patients fail to take their medication, and also receive inadequate follow-up care, according to a report in the July issue of the Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

Chaitanya Sarawate, M.S., of Health Outcomes Research in Wilmington, Del., and colleagues reviewed medical records of 5,942 patients in a health plan database who suffered from gout. They identified the number of physician visits and pharmacy prescriptions, and determined adherence and care between 2000 and 2002.

The researchers found that, among 4,635 patients taking gout medication, 87.9 percent discontinued or interrupted therapy, and among the 2,405 patients who received allopurinol, 87.1 percent discontinued therapy. Meanwhile, of 1,077 newly diagnosed patients, 83 percent had no claim filed for urine testing within 180 days after starting allopurinol. And among 328 patients with renal impairment who were prescribed allopurinol, 53 percent took a daily dose that was higher than recommended.

"Patients taking gout-specific medications had low allopurinol continuation rates and discontinued therapy relatively quickly," the authors write. "The two standards of care for clinical management of gout, recommended allopurinol dosing in patients with impaired renal function and serum urate testing at recommended intervals, had low rates of performance in the real world."

The study was funded by a grant from TAP Pharmaceutical Products Inc.

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