Study Explicits The Distance Why Gout Patients May Suffer despite effective treatments

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Study Explicits The Distance Why Gout Patients May Suffer despite effective treatments

In Arthritis Care and Research Journal, a study was published which threw light on why gout, which is a painful and common arthritis is not properly handled among people. Investigators at the University of Nebraska Medical Center and at the VA Nebraska-Western Iowa Health Care System in Omaha establised that only 14% patients with gout know exactly about their treatment and medications.

However, patients were administered with allopurinol in the study, as this drug minimize the pain and contol the uric acid levels, by doing so, disease remains under control.

At the VA Nebraska-Western Iowa Health Care System in Omaha, in the study, researchers assessed 612 set of questions to patients in order to check their knowledge about Gout and either they knew what their numerical goal was or not.

Gout is an inflammation caused by the deposition of uric acid crystals in body affecting big toe, knees, feet, ankles and many other joints. The prevalence is more in females after menopause and it is anticipated that about 4% Americans and 10% males over the age of 60 are readily affected.

"We found that there's a real gap in patients' understanding of our treatment goal in gout," conveyed Ted Mikuls, M.D., Umbach Professor of Rheumatology in the UNMC Department of Internal Medicine Division of Rheumatology, who also practices at the Omaha VA. "I think what was striking was most patients knew what causes gout, how it is treated, and what was going on with their disease, but they did not know what their level of uric acid should be. To us that's compelling."

According to Mikuls, senior author of the paper, "It's very well understood that there are targets for uric acid that should be reached to treat people effectively. I think physicians probably know the goal, but it's not being clearly communicated at least in a fashion patients can recall. If patients don't know the goal of therapy, it's very hard for patients to be engaged in their care".

As per Dr. Mikuls, in order to prevent future goutb attacks, patients should follow a long term treatment. For this, patients begin their treatment with the low doses of drugs i.e allopurinol, keep on checking the uric acid levels before altering the doses of drug and maintain the target of uric acid levels as well.

"Along with the other best practices - talking about diet and weight management, using anti-inflammatories for acute flares and for preventing flares when they start these therapies - it's a fairly straight forward condition to treat. I think increasingly we're seeing health care providers doing this better, but we have a long way to go," Dr. Mikuls said.

According to Brian Coburn, first author of the paper and a UNMC student enrolled in his fifth year of the UNMC M.D., Ph.D., program, the study was insightful in his training as a future physician-scientist.

"I've not had a chance to get into clinic fully yet, but after completing this study, I have a broader perspective of how thinking about the care patient populations can help inform what we do in clinics to best improve patients' health," told Coburn, first author of the article. "Similarly, I'm looking forward to my clinical training which will help me learn about barriers patients face during care. There are many research opportunities going forward to help patients and providers get better outcomes."

University of Nebraska Medical Center

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