Objective: To describe prescribing patterns and cardiovascular risk factor screening in patients, following consultation for acute gout in primary care.
Methods: This study was undertaken in two inter-linked regional primary care databases: Consultations in Primary Care Archive (CiPCA) and Prescriptions in Primary Care Archive (PiPCA). During 2001-04, consultations in CiPCA were identified at 10 participating practices from gout-related Read morbidity codes. Lipid, blood pressure, glucose and renal function monitoring were identified from Read codes and consultation free text over the next month. Prescriptions for traditional NSAIDs, gastroprotective agents, colchicine, coxibs, corticosteroids, analgesic agents and urate-lowering therapies (ULTs) issued to these patients over the subsequent 12 months were identified from PiPCA.
Results: Six hundred and seventy-three new gout consultations were identified. Monitoring of lipids (5%), blood pressure (26%), glucose (6%) and renal function (21%) within 1 month of index consultation were infrequently recorded. There were 583 consultations for acute gout. Traditional NSAIDs (68%) were most commonly prescribed, followed by colchicine (15%), coxibs (5%) and analgesia only (5%). Seven per cent did not receive a prescription. The most frequently prescribed traditional NSAIDs were diclofenac (41%) and indomethacin (32%). Gastroprotection was co-prescribed with NSAIDs for 17% of patients. Sixty six per cent of patients treated with colchicine were prescribed high-dose regimens (500 microg at least four times daily). ULTs were prescribed within 12 months in 23% of patients. Nineteen per cent of ULTs were prescribed during acute attack.
Conclusions: Primary care acute gout management is suboptimal. Education of general practitioners about acute gout management and cardiovascular risk is a priority.