Management of gout in the older adult

Am J Geriatr Pharmacother. 2011 Oct;9(5):271-85. doi: 10.1016/j.amjopharm.2011.07.004. Epub 2011 Aug 17.


Background: Gout affects 3 million people in the United States, with rates almost 5 times higher in those aged 70 to 79 years compared with those aged < 50 years. Management of gout in elderly subjects can be complicated by comorbidities and polypharmacy.

Objective: The purpose of this article was to review the unique clinical presentation, treatment, and prevention of gout in the older adult, with attention to the age-related factors that may affect outcomes in this population.

Methods: PubMed and the Iowa Drug Information Service were searched (1944-January 14, 2011) for clinical studies of gout using the following search terms: gout, elderly, colchicine, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), corticosteroid, prednisone, prednisolone, methylprednisolone, triamcinolone, allopurinol, febuxostat, probenecid, sulfinpyrazone, uricosuric, fenofibrate, and losartan. Articles were limited to clinical trials in humans, published in English. Citations of these articles were analyzed for additional relevant studies, and current guidelines were also consulted.

Results: Twenty-nine citations were reviewed. Evidence suggests that colchicine, NSAIDs, and corticosteroids are all efficacious in the treatment of acute gout in the older adult. Relevant limitations to colchicine use in the older adult include high cost, dosing restrictions in severe renal and hepatic dysfunction, gastrointestinal intolerance, and potential drug interactions. NSAID therapy is not recommended in older patients with congestive heart failure, renal failure, or gastrointestinal problems. Corticosteroids pose little risk when used in the short-term and may be preferred in patients with contraindications to colchicine or NSAIDs. Urate lowering with allopurinol for prevention of gout is well tolerated and has minimal cost per month; however, dose reduction is recommended in patients with renal impairment, which often results in failure to achieve target serum urate concentrations. Febuxostat does not require dose adjustment in mild to moderate renal disease and may be preferred in older people with this condition.

Conclusion: Management of gout in the older adult involves careful selection of treatment based on potential benefits and consequences of therapy, considered in tandem with individual patient-specific characteristics. identifiers NCT00549549, NCT01101035, NCT00241839, NCT01157936, NCT00997542, NCT00288158, and NCT00987415.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aging*
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Comorbidity
  • Evidence-Based Medicine
  • Gout / diagnosis
  • Gout / drug therapy*
  • Gout / epidemiology
  • Gout Suppressants / adverse effects
  • Gout Suppressants / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Selection
  • Polypharmacy
  • Recurrence
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Gout Suppressants

Associated data