Gout Sufferers Now Have Uloric for Treatment
Gout is a painful joint disease affecting about five million people in the United States. Gout is a form of arthritis that is caused by a build-up of uric acid in the blood.
On Friday, the Food and Drug Administration approved Uloric (febuxostat) giving gout sufferers a new drug to treat their disease. It is the first new treatment for gout in over 40 years. The drug is produced by Takeda Pharmaceuticals North America, Inc.
Uloric works by blocking the enzyme xanthine oxidase and therefore reducing levels of blood uric acid. It is a once-daily drug.
In healthy people, uric acid is dissolved in the blood and excreted from the body in urine. In gout sufferers, there is an elevated level of uric acid in the blood. When the blood uric acid gets too high, the monosodium urate crystals can precipitate and deposit in the joints and soft tissue causing an inflammatory response. This inflammatory response causes intense pain and swelling. Often the first attack of gout is in the big toe.
Urate acid is produced in the body when it breaks down purines, substances that are found naturally in your body, as well as in certain foods, such as organ meats, anchovies, herring, asparagus and mushrooms.
A few things that can increase your risk of gout attacks:
> Excessive alcohol use — generally more than two drinks a day for men and more than one for women — increases the risk of gout.
> Some medications can increase uric acid levels. These include thiazide diuretics (commonly used to treat hypertension), low-dose aspirin, and anti-rejection drugs used for people who have undergone an organ transplant.
> Diets high in protein increase the blood level of uric acid. People with gout should avoid organ meats (liver, brains, kidney and sweetbreads), anchovies, herring and mackerel. They should try to eat 5-6 ounces of lean meat (poultry or fish) instead.