Comorbidity burden, healthcare resource utilization, and costs in chronic gout patients refractory to conventional urate-lowering therapy

Am J Ther. 2012 Nov;19(6):e157-66. doi: 10.1097/MJT.0b013e31820543c5.


Patients with chronic gout refractory to conventional urate-lowering therapy have high rates of flares and incidence of tophi, which impose a significant disease and potentially economic burden. This study examined healthcare resource use and costs stratified by disease burden. Adult patients diagnosed with gout (ICD-9-CM:274.xx) and having had ≥3 flares defined by clinical surrogates within a 12-month period were selected for the case cohort from the Thomson MarketScan databases (2003/Q3-2008/Q3). Only patients who had received allopurinol treatment and a diagnosis of tophi (ICD-9-CM:274.8x) at any time before the first flare (index date) or within 12 months postindex were included and were matched in a 1:1 ratio with control gout-free subjects. The comorbidity burden, healthcare resource use, and annual healthcare costs (2008 US$) in the 12-month postindex period were compared between both cohorts using regression models adjusted for demographic characteristic and stratified for patients with ≥6 flares. A total of 679 gout patients met the inclusion criteria for the study and had a higher prevalence of comorbidities than their matched controls. Gout cohort had a significantly higher incidence of emergency room, hospitalizations, outpatient visits, and other medical services than did their matched controls (all comparisons, uncorrected P < 0.01). After adjusting for baseline characteristics, the refractory gout cohort incurred an incremental total annual healthcare cost of $10,222 where 40% of the annual medical cost was for gout-related care compared with control cohort (P < 0.01). Patients with refractory gout have a significant economic burden compared with a gout-free population.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Allopurinol / therapeutic use
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Chronic Disease
  • Cohort Studies
  • Comorbidity
  • Cost of Illness*
  • Databases, Factual
  • Emergency Service, Hospital / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Gout / economics*
  • Gout / pathology
  • Gout / therapy
  • Gout Suppressants / therapeutic use
  • Health Care Costs*
  • Health Services / economics
  • Health Services / statistics & numerical data*
  • Hospitalization / economics
  • Hospitalization / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Regression Analysis
  • Retrospective Studies


  • Gout Suppressants
  • Allopurinol