The negative association between gout and rheumatoid arthritis is widely accepted, and gout is also speculated to be rare in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), as only a few sporadic cases have been reported. From 1985 to 2001 we encountered 15 lupus patients at Chang-Gung Memorial Hospital, including two with lupus-scleroderma and one with lupus-scleroderma-polymyositis overlap syndrome coexisting with gout. This study retrospectively analyses the clinical and laboratory characteristics of these patients. A lower female predominance is found, and most patients developed gout after the onset of SLE, although gout preceded SLE in two cases. Measurement of serum uric acid and 24-h urine uric acid found all of the patients to be hyperuricaemic and underexcretors of uric acid. Furthermore, most of the patients (14/15) were receiving diuretics. Also, many had hypertension and serious cardiovascular diseases. Renal impairment during gouty attacks seemed to be a predisposing factor for developing end-stage renal disease. Gouty arthritis usually occurred during relative SLE inactivity, podagra was frequent, and tophi were found in a few patients. Compared with the unselected population of SLE patients, the cases studied here had a higher incidence of chronic arthritis, malar rash, haematologic disorder, photosensitivity, serositis and neurologic disorder. Renal disease in the patients sampled was frequently membranous nephropathy.