-- Robert Preidt
FRIDAY, March 28, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- A drug often used to
treat gout may reduce the risk of premature death in patients with
this common form of arthritis, according to a new study.
Previous research has associated gout with an increased risk of
early death. This study examined how allopurinol -- the most widely
used medication for gout -- might affect that risk.
Allopurinol causes a potentially fatal reaction in about one of
260 patients who uses the drug, which has made some doctors
reluctant to prescribe it, according to background information in
The researchers looked at data from over 5,900 gout patients in
the United Kingdom who were prescribed allopurinol and compared
them to a group of gout patients who did not take the drug.
Patients who took allopurinol were 11 percent less likely to die
from all causes during the study period than those who did not take
the medication. Overall, taking allopurinol reduced gout patients'
risk of death by 19 percent, according to the study published
online March 25 in the journal
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases.
"These risk reductions were apparent from the first year and throughout the subsequent years of follow-up," lead author Dr. Maureen Dubreuil, an instructor of medicine at Boston University School of Medicine, said in a university news release.
The findings show that taking allopurinol may not only treat
gout, but may protect gout patients from premature death, she
added. The results also suggest that this survival benefit may
outweigh the risks of rare serious side effects, according to the
The study found an association between taking allopurinol and
reduced risk of early death in gout patients. It did not prove a
The study was funded by the U.S. National Institute of Arthritis
and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, the Arthritis Foundation and
the VA Boston Healthcare System.
The American College of Rheumatology has more about
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