2011 Recommendations for the diagnosis and management of gout and hyperuricemia

Postgrad Med. 2011 Nov;123(6 Suppl 1):3-36. doi: 10.3810/pgm.2011.11.2511.


Gout is a major health problem in the United States; it affects 8.3 million people, which is approximately 4% of the adult population. Gout is most often diagnosed and managed in primary care physician practices. Primary care physicians have a significant opportunity to diagnose and manage patients with gout and improve patient outcomes. Following publication of the 2006 European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) gout guidelines, significant evidence on gout has accumulated and new treatments for patients with gout have become available. It is the objective of these 2011 recommendations for the diagnosis and management of gout and hyperuricemia to update the 2006 EULAR guidelines, paying special attention to the needs of primary care physicians, who manage most patients with gout. The revised 2011 recommendations are based on the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development, and Evaluation approach as an evidence-based strategy for rating quality of evidence and grading strength of recommendation in clinical practice. A total of 26 key recommendations for diagnosis (n = 10) and management (n = 16) were evaluated. Presence of tophus (proven or suspected) and response to colchicine had the highest clinical diagnostic value (likelihood ratio [LR], 15.56 [95% CI, 2.11-114.71] and LR, 4.33 [95% CI, 1.16-16.16], respectively). The key aspect of effective management of an acute gout attack is initiation of treatment within hours of onset of first symptoms. Low-dose colchicine is better tolerated than and is as effective as high-dose colchicine (number needed to treat [NNT], 5 [95% CI, 3-13] and NNT, 6 [95% CI, 3-72], respectively). For urate-lowering therapy, allopurinol in combination with probenecid was shown to be more effective than either agent alone (effect size [ES], 5.51 for combination; ES, 4.46 for probenecid; and ES, 2.80 for allopurinol). Febuxostat, also a xanthine oxidase inhibitor, has a slightly different mechanism of action and can be prescribed at unchanged doses for patients with mild-to-moderate renal or hepatic impairment. Febuxostat 40 mg versus 80 mg (NNT, 6 [95% CI, 4-11]) and 120 mg (NNT, 6 [95% CI, 3-26]) both demonstrated long-term efficacy. The target of urate-lowering therapy should be a serum uric acid level of ≤ 6 mg/dL. For patients with refractory and tophaceous gout, intravenous pegloticase is a new treatment option.

Publication types

  • Practice Guideline
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Gout Suppressants / therapeutic use*
  • Gout* / diagnosis
  • Gout* / therapy
  • Humans
  • Hyperuricemia* / diagnosis
  • Hyperuricemia* / therapy
  • Life Style
  • Patient Education as Topic
  • Primary Health Care
  • Risk Factors


  • Gout Suppressants