Gout, flares, and allopurinol use: A population-based study

Charlotte Proudman, Susan E. Lester, David A. Gonzalez-Chica, Tiffany Gill, Nicola Dalbeth, Catherine L. Hill

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16 Citations (Scopus)


Background: There is a paucity of community-based data regarding the prevalence and impact of gout flares as these may often be self-managed. The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of self-reported gout and gout flares, the use of urate-lowering therapy (ULT), and the association of gout flares with health-related quality of life (HRQoL) in a large community sample. Covariate associations with flare frequency and allopurinol use were also examined. Methods: The South Australian Health Omnibus Survey is an annual, face-to-face population-based survey. Data collected in the 2017 survey included self-reported medically diagnosed gout, allopurinol use (first-line ULT in Australia), and gout attacks (flares) in the last 12 months, in addition to sociodemographic variables and health-related quality of life (HRQoL, SF-12). Data were weighted to the Australian Bureau of Statistics 2016 census data to reflect the South Australian population. Participants 25 years and over (n = 2778) were included in the analysis. Results: The prevalence of gout was 6.5% (95%CI 5.5, 7.5). Amongst participants with gout, 37.1% (95%CI 29.6, 45.3) reported currently using allopurinol, while 23.2% (95%CI 16.9, 21.0) reported prior use (38% discontinuation rate). Frequent flares (≥ 2 in the last year) were reported by 25% of participants with gout and were more likely with younger age, higher body mass index, and current allopurinol use (p < 0.05). The frequency of gout flares was associated with a lower physical HRQoL (p = 0.012). Current allopurinol use was reported by 51% of participants with frequent gout flares. Conclusion: Flares were frequently reported by people with gout in the community. Gout flares were associated with reduced physical HRQoL. Almost one half of people with frequent gout flares were not receiving allopurinol, and current allopurinol use was associated with frequent gout flares, suggesting undertreated disease and suboptimal use of ULT. Determining covariate associations with flares and ineffective allopurinol use may identify means of improving treatment and reducing flares.

Original languageEnglish
Article number132
JournalArthritis Research and Therapy
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished or Issued - 31 May 2019


  • Allopurinol
  • Gout
  • Gout flares
  • Population study
  • Prevalence
  • Self-reported

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rheumatology
  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology

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