Cardiovascular Disease in Gout and the Protective Effect of Treatments Including Urate-Lowering Therapy

Abstract

Cardiovascular disease affects more than 90 million Americans. Recent studies support an increased cardiovascular disease risk in inflammatory conditions, such as gout. Increased serum urate levels, or hyperuricemia, are a precursor to gout. Data from meta-analyses have shown hyperuricemia to be linked to hypertension and coronary heart disease. Similarly, gout has been associated with an increased risk of myocardial infarction, cerebrovascular accidents, and death from cardiovascular disease in randomized clinical trials. Urate-lowering therapy reduces serum urate and may decrease systemic inflammation, generation of oxidative species, and reverses endothelial dysfunction through hyperuricemia-dependent or hyperuricemia-independent pathways. Cardioprotective benefits of allopurinol, a first-line agent for the treatment of gout, have been demonstrated to potentially prevent myocardial infarction, stroke, atrial fibrillation, and other cardiovascular diseases in observational studies in select populations. Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) have also examined the role of newer urate-lowering therapies, such as febuxostat and lesinurad, and their risk of cardiovascular-specific mortality in comparison to allopurinol. A large post-marketing study of febuxostat vs. allopurinol showed higher all-cause and cardiovascular-specific mortality in the febuxostat group than in the allopurinol group; a major study limitation was that large numbers of patients were lost to follow-up or discontinued treatment. RCTs are required to assess the comparative effectiveness of urate-lowering therapies, validate findings of observational studies, and to determine which subgroup populations of gout are most likely to benefit from appropriate long-term urate-lowering therapy. This review examines the data for increased cardiovascular disease in gout and potential underlying mechanisms (including hyperuricemia, inflammation, endothelial dysfunction, oxidative stress) and the effect of urate-lowering therapy on cardiovascular disease.

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Correspondence to Jasvinder A. Singh.

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Jasvinder A. Singh has received consultant fees from Crealta/Horizon, Fidia, UBM LLC, Medscape, WebMD, the National Institutes of Health, and the American College of Rheumatology. He owns stock options in Amarin Pharmaceuticals and Viking Therapeutics. He is a member of the executive of OMERACT, an organization that develops outcome measures in rheumatology and receives arms-length funding from 36 companies. Jasvinder A. Singh is also a member of the Veterans Affairs Rheumatology Field Advisory Committee and is the editor and the Director of the UAB Cochrane Musculoskeletal Group Satellite Center on Network Meta-analysis. Manik K. Gupta has no conflicts of interest that are directly relevant to the content of this article.

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Gupta, M.K., Singh, J.A. Cardiovascular Disease in Gout and the Protective Effect of Treatments Including Urate-Lowering Therapy. Drugs 79, 531–541 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40265-019-01081-5

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