Safety and efficacy of uric acid in patients with acute stroke (URICO-ICTUS): a randomised, double-blind phase 2b/3 trial

Lancet Neurol. 2014 May;13(5):453-60. doi: 10.1016/S1474-4422(14)70054-7. Epub 2014 Apr 2.


Introduction: Uric acid is an antioxidant with neuroprotective effects in experimental models of stroke. We assessed whether uric acid therapy would improve functional outcomes at 90 days in patients with acute ischaemic stroke.

Methods: URICO-ICTUS was a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, phase 2b/3 trial that recruited patients with acute ischaemic stroke admitted to ten Spanish stroke centres. Patients were included if they were aged 18 years or older, had received alteplase within 4·5 h of symptom onset, and had an eligible National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS) score (>6 and ≤25) and premorbid (assessed by anamnesis) modified Rankin Scale (mRS) score (≤2). Patients were randomly allocated (1:1) to receive uric acid 1000 mg or placebo (both infused intravenously in 90 min during the infusion of alteplase), stratified by centre and baseline stroke severity. The primary outcome was the proportion of patients with excellent outcome (ie, an mRS score of 0-1, or 2 if premorbid score was 2) at 90 days, analysed in the target population (all randomly assigned patients who had been correctly diagnosed with ischaemic stroke and had begun study medication). The study is registered with, number NCT00860366.

Findings: Between July 1, 2011, and April 30, 2013, we randomly assigned 421 patients, of whom 411 (98%) were included in the target population (211 received uric acid and 200 received placebo). 83 (39%) patients who received uric acid and 66 (33%) patients who received placebo had an excellent outcome (adjusted risk ratio 1·23 [95% CI 0·96-1·56]; p=0·099). No clinically relevant or statistically significant differences were reported between groups with respect to death (28 [13%] patients who received uric acid vs 31 [16%] who received placebo), symptomatic intracerebral haemorrhage (nine [4%] vs six [3%]), and gouty arthritis (one [<1%] vs four [2%]). 516 adverse events occurred in the uric acid group and 532 in the placebo group, of which 61 (12%) and 67 (13%), respectively, were serious adverse events (p=0·703).

Interpretation: The addition of uric acid to thrombolytic therapy did not increase the proportion of patients who achieved excellent outcome after stroke compared with placebo, but it did not lead to any safety concerns.

Funding: Institute of Health Carlos III of the Spanish Ministry of Health and Fundación Doctor Melchor Colet.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial, Phase II
  • Clinical Trial, Phase III
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology
  • Antioxidants / therapeutic use*
  • Brain / diagnostic imaging
  • Brain / drug effects
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Odds Ratio
  • Radiography
  • Regression Analysis
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Stroke / drug therapy*
  • Stroke / pathology
  • Tomography Scanners, X-Ray Computed
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Uric Acid / pharmacology
  • Uric Acid / therapeutic use*


  • Antioxidants
  • Uric Acid

Associated data