Use of diuretics and the risk of gouty arthritis: a systematic review

Semin Arthritis Rheum. 2012 Jun;41(6):879-89. doi: 10.1016/j.semarthrit.2011.11.008. Epub 2012 Jan 4.


Objective: To systematically review the literature investigating the relationship between use of diuretics and the risk of gouty arthritis.

Methods: PubMed (1950-October 2009), Embase (1974-October 2009), and the Cochrane Library (up to October 2009) were searched using keywords and MeSH terms diuretics, adverse effects, and gout. For this review, the technique of "best evidence synthesis" was used. Studies reporting frequency, absolute or relative risks, odds ratio, or rate ratio of gouty arthritis in diuretic users compared with nonusers were selected and evaluated. Studies had to be published in English. Checklists from the Dutch Cochrane Centre were used to assess the quality of randomized controlled trials (RCTs), cohort, and case-control studies.

Results: Two RCTs, 6 cohort studies, and 5 case-control studies met the inclusion criteria. The overall quality of the studies was moderate. In a RCT the rate ratio of gout for use of bendrofluazide vs placebo was 11.8 (95% CI 5.2-27.0). The other RCT found a rate ratio of 6.3 (95% CI 0.8-51) for use of hydrochlorothiazide plus triamterene vs placebo. Three cohort studies and 4 case-control studies found higher risks of gouty arthritis in users compared with nonusers of diuretics.

Conclusions: There is a trend toward a higher risk for acute gouty arthritis attacks in patients on loop and thiazide diuretics, but the magnitude and independence is not consistent. Therefore, stopping these useful drugs in patients who develop gouty arthritis is not supported by the results of this review.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Arthritis, Gouty / etiology*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Diuretics / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Risk


  • Diuretics