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New Drug Aids Gout Patients Not Helped By Standard Treatments

Posted Aug 17 2011 9:43pm

Pegloticase, a modified porcine enzyme, can produce significant and sustained clinical improvements in 2 out of 5 patients with chronic gout that is resistant to conventional therapies, researchers report in the August 17, 2011, issue of JAMA.

In two controlled clinical trials, pegloticase rapidly lowered high levels of uric acid, the biochemical abnormality in gout, and kept it in the normal range for six months or more in 42 percent of patients receiving the drug every two weeks. Forty percent of patients had complete resolution of at least one of the painful swollen joint nodules, known as tophi, a hallmark of severe gout.

“This represents the first effective therapy for a group of patients who previously had no options at all,” said the study’s senior author, Michael A. Becker, MD, professor of medicine at the University of Chicago. “This is for patients with severe gout, including major disabilities and high levels of pain. Many of these people had dramatic responses within months, some with complete resolution of tophi, as well as reduced levels of pain and disability. The rapidity of these outcomes is unheard of.”

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