Lowering and Raising Serum Urate Levels: Off-Label Effects of Commonly Used Medications
Drug-induced hyperuricemia and gout present an increasingly prevalent problem in clinical practice. Herein, we review the urate-lowering or urate-raising effects of commonly used agents. We performed a PubMed search using the terms gout, urate, and medication, along with the specific agents/classes described herein. Reports were reviewed until 2022, and original studies were considered if they primarily or secondarily reported the effects of 1 or more drugs on serum urate level. Previous reviews were assessed for references to additional studies that described urate-altering effects of medications. Urate-changing drugs are summarized regarding their magnitude of effect, mechanism of action, and clinical significance. Potentially urate-lowering drugs include angiotensin II receptor blockers, calcium channel blockers, high-dose aspirin and salicylates, some nonsalicylate nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, sodium-glucose cotransporter 2 inhibitors, statins, and fenofibrate. Potentially urate-increasing drugs discussed include diuretics, Î²-blockers, insulin, pyrazinamide, ethambutol, calcineurin inhibitors, low-dose aspirin, testosterone, and lactate. In patients who have or are at risk for hyperuricemia or gout, an increased awareness of drugs that affect serum urate level may allow for prescribing that effectively treats the indicated problem while minimizing adverse effects on hyperuricemia and gout.
Monosodium urate deposition in the lumbosacral spine of patients with gout compared with non-gout controls: A dual-energy CT study
BACKGROUND:Gout is the most common cause of inflammatory arthritis in adults. Gout predominantly affects the peripheral joints, but an increasing number of published cases report gout affecting the spine. We used dual-energy CT (DECT) to assess the prevalence of monosodium urate (MSU) deposition in the spine of gout patients compared to controls, and to investigate whether gout or spinal MSU deposition is associated with low back pain. METHODS:25 controls and 50 gout subjects (non-tophaceous and tophaceous) were enrolled. Demographics, gout history, Aberdeen back pain score, serum urate (sU), ESR and CRP were ascertained. Subjects underwent DECT of the lumbosacral spine, which was analyzed using manufacturer's default post-processing algorithm for MSU deposition as well as a maximally-specific algorithm to exclude potential artifact. FINDINGS/RESULTS:72 subjects were analyzed (25 control, 47 gout). Gout subjects had greater BMI, serum creatinine, sU, CRP, and ESR versus controls. Using the default algorithm, MSU-coded volumes in the lumbosacral spines were significantly higher among the gout subjects vs controls (pÂ =Â 0.018). 34% of gout subjects vs 4% of controls had spinal MSU-coded deposition (pÂ =Â 0.0036). Applying the maximally-specific DECT post-processing algorithm, 18% of gout patients vs 0% of controls continued to demonstrate spinal MSU-coded deposition (pÂ =Â 0.04). Non-tophaceous and tophaceous subjects did not differ in spinal MSU-coded deposition or sU. Gout patients had more back pain than controls. INTERPRETATION/CONCLUSIONS:A significant subpopulation of gout patients have spinal MSU-coded lesions. Default and maximally-specific MSU post-processing algorithms yielded different absolute MSU-coded volumes, but similar patterns of results. Gout patients had more back pain than controls. Spinal MSU deposition in gout patients may have implications for clinical picture and treatment.
The effects of caffeine on bone mineral density and fracture risk
Caffeine is a regular part of the diet of many adults (coffee, tea, soft drinks, and energy drinks). Multiple molecular effects of caffeine suggest that it may promote bone loss. Given the extensive consumption of caffeine worldwide, any impact of caffeine consumption on bone strength and/or density would have large population health implications. The most well-established pharmacological effect of caffeine is non-specific antagonism of adenosine receptors. Adenosine regulates bone metabolism in a complex manner, with in vitro studies suggesting that direct stimulation of adenosine A2A and A2B receptors induces bone formation by activating osteoblasts and suppressing osteoclast differentiation and function. Thus, competitive inhibition of adenosine A2 receptors by caffeine may inhibit bone formation and promote bone resorption. However, antagonism of adenosine A1 receptors may have opposing effects. Caffeine has also been suggested to affect bone through derangement of calcium metabolism, alteration of vitamin D responses, and other mechanisms. In clinical and population-based studies, the impact of caffeine consumption on bone metabolism offers a mixed picture, with some but not all studies suggesting a potential link between caffeine intake and reduced bone mineral density or increased fracture risk. Differences in methodology, selected populations, and duration/timing of the studies may account for study outcome discrepancies. The in vitro effects of caffeine on cells involved in bone metabolism suggest that caffeine intake may promote osteoporosis, and some but not all clinical studies support a modest adverse caffeine impact. Herein, we describe the basic biology of caffeine as it pertains to bone, review the clinical literature to date, and consider the implications of the current data on clinical practice and future studies.
Mentoring Underrepresented Minority Physician-Scientists to Success
As the nation seeks to recruit and retain physician-scientists, gaps remain in understanding and addressing mitigatable challenges to the success of faculty from underrepresented minority (URM) backgrounds. The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation Fund to Retain Clinical Scientists program, implemented in 2015 at 10 academic medical centers in the United States, seeks to retain physician-scientists at risk of leaving science because of periods of extraordinary family caregiving needs, hardships that URM faculty-especially those who identify as female-are more likely to experience. At the annual Fund to Retain Clinical Scientists program directors conference in 2018, program directors-21% of whom identify as URM individuals and 13% as male-addressed issues that affect URM physician-scientists in particular. Key issues that threaten the retention of URM physician-scientists were identified through focused literature reviews; institutional environmental scans; and structured small- and large-group discussions with program directors, staff, and participants. These issues include bias and discrimination, personal wealth differential, the minority tax (i.e., service burdens placed on URM faculty who represent URM perspectives on committees and at conferences), lack of mentorship training, intersectionality and isolation, concerns about confirming stereotypes, and institutional-level factors. The authors present recommendations for how to create an environment in which URM physician-scientists can expect equitable opportunities to thrive, as institutions demonstrate proactive allyship and remove structural barriers to success. Recommendations include providing universal training to reduce interpersonal bias and discrimination, addressing the consequences of the personal wealth gap through financial counseling and benefits, measuring the service faculty members provide to the institution as advocates for URM faculty issues and compensating them appropriately, supporting URM faculty who wish to engage in national leadership programs, and sustaining institutional policies that address structural and interpersonal barriers to inclusive excellence.
Chasing the storm: Recruiting non-hospitalized patients for a multi-site randomized controlled trial in the United States during the COVID-19 pandemic
Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) remain the gold standard to evaluate clinical interventions, producing the highest level of evidence while minimizing potential bias. Inadequate recruitment is a commonly encountered problem that undermines the completion and generalizability of RCTs-and is even more challenging when enrolling amidst a pandemic. Here, we reflect on our experiences with virtual recruitment of non-hospitalized patients in the United States for ColCorona, an international, multicenter, randomized, placebo-controlled coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) drug trial. Recruitment challenges during a pandemic include constraints created by shelter-in-place policies and targeting enrollment according to national and local fluctuations in infection rate. Presenting a study to potential participants who are sick with COVID-19 and may be frightened, overwhelmed, or mistrusting of clinical research remains a challenge. Strategies previously reported to improve recruitment include transparency, patient and site education, financial incentives, and person-to-person outreach. Active measures taken during ColCorona to optimize United States recruitment involved rapid expansion of sites, adjustment of recruitment scripts, assessing telephone calls versus text messages for initial contact with participants, institutional review board-approved financial compensation, creating an infrastructure to systematically identify potentially eligible patients, partnering with testing sites, appealing to both self-interest and altruism, and large-scale media efforts with varying degrees of success.
Comparative Effectiveness of Allopurinol and Febuxostat in Gout Management
BACKGROUND:The relative efficacy and safety of allopurinol and febuxostat when used according to current guidelines for the treatment of hyperuricemia are unknown. This double-blind noninferiority trial examined these issues. METHODS:Participants with gout and hyperuricemia (with at least 33% having stage 3 chronic kidney disease) were randomly assigned to allopurinol or febuxostat in this 72-week trial, with doses titrated to target serum urate. The trial had three phases: titration (weeks 0 to 24), maintenance (weeks 25 to 48), and observation (weeks 49 to 72). Allopurinol and febuxostat were initiated at daily doses of 100 and 40 mg, with maximum titration to 800 and 120 mg, respectively. Antiinflammatory prophylaxis was given during phases 1 and 2. The primary end point was the proportion of patients experiencing one or more flares during phase 3, with a prespecified noninferiority margin of less than 8 percentage points between allopurinol and febuxostat. Secondary end points included efficacy in patients with chronic kidney disease, proportion achieving target serum urate levels, and serious adverse events. RESULTS:This study included 940 participants; 20.1% withdrew, with similar proportions in treatment arms. During phase 3, 36.5% of allopurinol-treated participants had one flare or more compared with 43.5% of febuxostat-treated participants (P<0.001 for noninferiority). Overall, 80% of participants achieved mean target urates during phase 2 with no differences by treatment. There were no treatment differences (including cardiovascular events) in serious adverse events. CONCLUSIONS:Allopurinol and febuxostat achieved serum urate goals in patients with gout; allopurinol was noninferior to febuxostat in controlling flares. Similar outcomes were noted in participants with stage 3 chronic kidney disease. (Funded by the Cooperative Studies Program of the Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Research and Development; ClinicalTrials.gov identifier, NCT02579096.).
Colchicine and clinical trials for hand osteoarthritis [Letter]
Consensus Statement Regarding the Efficacy and Safety of Long-Term Low-Dose Colchicine in Gout and Cardiovascular Disease
Over the last decade, evidence has demonstrated that long-term, low-dose colchicine (0.5 mg daily) is effective for preventing gout flare and cardiovascular (CV) events in a wide range of patients. Given the potentially expanding use of colchicine in CV disease, we here review and update the biologic effects and safety of colchicine based on recent data gathered from bench and pharmacodynamic studies, clinical reports, controlled clinical trials, and meta-analyses, integrated with important studies over the last 50 years, to offer a consensus perspective by experts from multiple specialties familiar with colchicine's long-term use. We conclude that the clinical benefits of colchicine in gout and CV disease achieved at low dose do not sustain serum levels above the upper limit of safety when used in patients without advanced renal or liver disease or when used concomitantly with most medications. Further, data accrued over the last 50 years strongly suggest that the biologic effects of long-term colchicine do not increase the risk of cancer, sepsis, cytopenia, or myotoxicity.
Spinal Urate Deposition in a Patient With Gout and Nonspecific Low Back Pain: Response to Initiation of Gout Therapy
Coincident Kikuchi-Fujimoto's disease and adult-onset Still's disease: report of a patient from an uncommonly affected population and case-directed systematic review
Kikuchi-Fujimoto's disease (KFD) and adult-onset Still's disease (AOSD) are rare idiopathic inflammatory conditions of unknown etiology. Ten prior instances of KFD and AOSD occurring together have been reported in the medical literature. These overlaps, together with certain distinguishing clinical and laboratory characteristics in these co-occurrences, offer insight into the pathophysiology of both of these rare disorders. Too, examination of these cases may help improve the diagnostic evaluation and care of patients afflicted with these rare diseases. We therefore report an additional patient with KFD and AOSD occurring in a middle-aged Hispanic female patient and perform a systematic literature review using the PubMed/MEDLINE and Embase databases to further analyze and compare prior identified cases. Our observations in our index case complement and expand previous reports, including new demographic and diagnostic features not seen in prior cases of overlap. Indeed ours is the first in a patient of Hispanic ethnicity, with retroperitoneal lymphadenopathy, as well as with a skin biopsy consistent with AOSD. Each of the reviewed cases of co-occurrence met the diagnostic criteria for both KFD and AOSD. This finding, in the setting of unique clinical and diagnostic manifestations that are not typically seen in either disease entity alone, suggests the presence of an overlap syndrome. Also, many of the shared clinical features and symptomatic responses to targeted therapies implies a similar, yet still poorly understood, pathophysiologic pathway for the two diseases.