Gout Management Costs & Why Prevention Matters

gout management costs

Gout is becoming increasingly common in the US.1 About 6 million men and 2 million women in the US suffer with it2, and incidence of the disease has more than doubled over the past 20 years1. As the number of adults affected by the disease increases, so do gout management costs, which is why prevention is so important.

A form of inflammatory arthritis, gout is caused by a build-up of uric acid in the body.3 This build-up of uric acid can lead to deposits of urate crystals around the joints.3 Once they form in the joints, these crystals can cause redness, swelling, tenderness and intense pain.3

 

Growing concerns

The increasing prevalence of gout is likely due to the fact that the population is aging.4 Diet and lifestyle also are believed to play a role.4 This increase, coupled with the fact that people with gout are more likely to suffer with other chronic conditions (high blood pressure, diabetes, kidney disease, high cholesterol and obesity, for example), represents a significant public health concern.1

 

Downplaying a serious disease

Although it is very important to manage gout, many people with the disease do not take it seriously.5 In fact, a survey conducted by the Gout and Uric Acid Education Society showed that, although nine out of 10 people with gout feel that it is a serious health issue, only half agree that managing gout should be a priority.5

 

Doubling doctor visits

From 2002 to 2008, an estimated 7 million doctor visits annually were associated with gout; 2 million of these being the result of gout flares.4 Although the total number of office visits for all causes was the same between 2002 and 2008, the number of gout-related visits more than doubled (14.9 visits per 1000 persons in 2002 to 35.2 visits per 1000 persons in 2008).4

 

A hefty price tag

As the number of adults affected by gout increases, so does the cost to manage the disease.4 According to data from the 2002 to 2008 National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey and the National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey, total outpatient care costs associated with gout were estimated at $933 million annually—a critical reason why gout flare prevention is so important.4

 

How can we reduce costs?

As the costs associated with gout continue to rise, it will become increasingly important to find ways to manage them.6 Potential strategies for improving outcomes while decreasing the financial burden to patients include:

Get diagnosed early

If you think you could have gout, or are experiencing gout-like symptoms, seek diagnosis and begin treatment as soon as possible, including doctor-recommended therapy to help avoid future flares.7

Keep uric acid in check

Have your uric acid level checked every six months, ideally keeping it below 6 mg/dL.7

Live well

Maintain a healthy lifestyle by exercising regularly, avoiding alcohol, choosing gout-friendly foods and staying well hydrated.7–9

 

Talk with your doctor

If you suspect you have gout, make an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible.3 You may want to download and complete the Gout Flare Questionnaire (from Resources for Patients) before your appointment.

After your initial examination, your doctor may want to refer you to a rheumatologist (a specialist who focuses on patients with arthritis and other inflammatory joint conditions). But don’t wait—untreated gout can become increasingly painful and result in joint damage.3  

If you are already being treated for gout but are still experiencing frequent symptoms, including flares, see your doctor or rheumatologist as soon as you can. Your gout could be progressing and it may be necessary to change your treatment plan.

 

NOTE: This article was not written by a medical professional and is not intended to substitute for the guidance of a physician. These are not West-Ward’s recommendations for gout flare prevention, but rather facts and data collected from various reliable medical sources. For a full list of resources and their attributing links, see below.

References

  1. Elfishawi MM et al. The Rising Incidence of Gout and the Increasing Burden of Comorbidities: A Population-based Study over 20 Years. J Rheumatol. 2018;45(4):574¬–579.
  2. What is Gout? Arthritis Foundation website. Available at: https://www.arthritis.org/about-arthritis/types/gout/what-is-gout.php. Accessed March 31, 2018.
  3. Gout/Symptoms & causes. Mayo Clinic website. Available at: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/gout/symptoms-causes/syc-20372897. Accessed March 31, 2018.
  4. Li C et al. Ambulatory Resource Utilization and Cost for Gout in United States. Am J Pharm Benefits. 2013;5(2):e46–e54.
  5. New Research Reinforces Gout Burden, Need for Education. CISION PR Newswire website. Available at: https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/new-research-reinforces-gout-burden-need-for-education-300270328.html. Accessed March 31, 2018.
  6. Wertheimer A et al. A Revised Estimate of the Burden of Illness of Gout. Curr Ther Res Clin Exp. 2013;75:1–4.
  7. The Cost of Gout. Gout & Uric Acid Education Society website. Available at: http://gouteducation.org/patient/what-is-gout/cost/. Accessed March 31, 2018.
  8. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Gout. http://www.cdc.gov/arthritis/basics/gout.html. Accessed March 31, 2018.
  9. Harvard Health Publications. Fight back against gout. https://www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/fight-back-against-gout. Accessed March 31, 2018.

Important Safety Information for Mitigare® (colchicine) 0.6 mg capsules

  • Colchicine 0.6 mg capsules are contraindicated in patients with renal or hepatic impairment who are currently prescribed drugs that inhibit both P-gp and CYP3A4. Combining these dual inhibitors with colchicine in patients with renal or hepatic impairment has resulted in life-threatening or fatal colchicine toxicity. Patients with both renal and hepatic impairment should not be given Mitigare®.
  • Fatal overdoses have been reported with colchicine in adults and children. Keep Mitigare® out of the reach of children.
  • Blood dyscrasias such as myelosuppression, leukopenia, granulocytopenia, thrombocytopenia, and aplastic anemia have been reported with colchicine used in therapeutic doses.
  • Monitor for toxicity and if present consider temporary interruption or discontinuation of colchicine.
  • Drug interaction with dual P-gp and CYP3A4 inhibitors: Co-administration of colchicine with dual P-gp and CYP3A4 inhibitors has resulted in life-threatening interactions and death.
  • Neuromuscular toxicity and rhabdomyolysis may occur with chronic treatment with colchicine in therapeutic doses, especially in combination with other drugs known to cause this effect. Patients with impaired renal function and elderly patients (including those with normal renal and hepatic function) are at increased risk. Consider temporary interruption or discontinuation of Mitigare®.
  • The most commonly reported adverse reactions with colchicine are gastrointestinal symptoms, including diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain.

Indication

Mitigare® is indicated for prophylaxis of gout flares in adults. The safety and effectiveness of Mitigare for acute treatment of gout flares during prophylaxis has not been studied.

Mitigare® is not an analgesic medication and should not be used to treat pain from other causes.

For Full Prescribing Information please CLICK HERE and for Medication Guide CLICK HERE.

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA.

Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch, or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

Manufactured by: West-Ward Columbus Inc., Columbus, OH 43228

Important Safety Information for Mitigare® (colchicine) 0.6 mg capsules

  • Colchicine 0.6 mg capsules are contraindicated in patients with renal or hepatic impairment who are currently prescribed drugs that inhibit both P-gp and CYP3A4. Combining these dual inhibitors with colchicine in patients with renal or hepatic impairment has resulted in life-threatening or fatal colchicine toxicity. Patients with both renal and hepatic impairment should not be given Mitigare®.
  • Fatal overdoses have been reported with colchicine in adults and children. Keep Mitigare® out of the reach of children.