Oral prednisolone in the treatment of acute gout: A pragmatic, multicenter, double-blind, randomized trial

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Oral prednisolone in the treatment of acute gout: A pragmatic, multicenter, double-blind, randomized trial
Key Take-Away: 

In this study, the two treatment options for acute gout were considered -Oral prednisolone and indomethacin which had all most similar analgesic effects. These effects were measured in the visual analogue scale (VAS), where prednisolone was found to be safe for acute gout patients.

Two recent double-blind, randomized, controlled trials (RCTs) showed that oral steroids and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs have similar analgesic effectiveness for management of gout, but the trials had small sample sizes and other methodological limitations.

ABSTRACT: 
Background: 

Two recent double-blind, randomized, controlled trials (RCTs) showed that oral steroids and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs have similar analgesic effectiveness for management of gout, but the trials had small sample sizes and other methodological limitations.

To compare the effectiveness and safety of oral prednisolone versus oral indomethacin in patients presenting to emergency departments (EDs) with acute gout.

Methods: 

Multicenter, double-blind, randomized equivalence trial. Patients were randomly assigned (1:1 ratio) to receive either indomethacin or prednisolone. Four EDs in Hong Kong.

416 patients aged 18 years or older. Analgesic effectiveness was defined as changes in pain (at rest or with activity) greater than 13 mm on a 100-mm visual analogue scale. Outcomes were measured during the first 2 hours in the ED and from days 1 to 14.

Results: 

376 patients completed the study. Equivalent and clinically significant within-group reductions in mean pain score were observed with indomethacin and prednisolone in the ED (approximately 10 mm [rest] and 20 mm [activity]) and from days 1 to 14 (approximately 25 mm [rest] and 45 mm [activity]).

No major adverse events occurred during the study. During the ED phase, patients in the indomethacin group had more minor adverse events than those in the prednisolone group (19% vs. 6%; P < 0.001). During days 1 to 14, 37% of patients in each group had minor adverse events. Diagnosis of gout was usually based on clinical criteria rather than examination of joint fluid.

Conclusion: 

Oral prednisolone and indomethacin had similar analgesic effectiveness among patients with acute gout. Prednisolone is a safe, effective first-line option for treatment of acute gout.

Ann Intern Med.2016 Apr 5;164(7):464-71

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