Background: Alcohol consumption has long been considered a trigger for recurrent gout attacks; however, this hypothesis has not been formally tested.
Methods: We conducted an Internet-based case-crossover study to assess several putative risk factors, including alcohol consumption, thought to trigger recurrent gout attacks. Subjects who had an attack within the past year were recruited online and asked to provide access to medical records pertaining to their gout. Data were obtained on the amount and type of alcoholic beverage consumed on each day over the 2-day period before a gout attack and on each day over a 2-day period during the intercritical period. We examined the amount and type of alcohol consumption and the risk of recurrent gout attacks using a conditional logistic regression adjusting for diuretic use and purine intake.
Results: A total of 197 subjects were recruited online over a 10-month period. Of those, 179 (91%) fulfilled the American College of Rheumatology Criteria for gout. Compared with no alcohol consumption, odds ratios for recurrent gout attacks were 1.1, 0.9, 2.0, and 2.5 for 1 to 2, 3 to 4, 5 to 6, and 7 or more drinks consumed over the 2-day period, respectively (P<.005). A dose-response relationship of risk of gout attacks was more evident for alcohol consumed over the last 24 hours. An increased risk of recurrent gout attacks was found for each type of beverage consumed.
Conclusion: Alcohol consumption triggers recurrent gout attacks. This effect was likely to occur within 24 hours after its consumption.