Adherence and persistence to urate-lowering therapies in the Irish setting

Clin Rheumatol. 2016 Mar;35(3):715-21. doi: 10.1007/s10067-014-2823-8. Epub 2014 Nov 20.


To identify adherence and persistence levels with urate-lowering therapies using the national administrative pharmacy claim database. This was a retrospective, pharmacy claims-based analysis of dispensed anti-gout medications on the Irish national HSE-PCRS scheme database between January 2008 and December 2012. Adherence is defined by the medication possession ratio (MPR), and patients were considered to be adherent if the MPR ≥80 % (good adherers) in any given time period. Persistence was defined as continued use of therapy with no periods exceeding a refill gap of >63 days (9 weeks). Logistic regression analysis was used to predict odd ratios (OR) and 95 % confidence interval (CI) for persistence and adherence in relation to age, gender and level of comorbidity. There was a 53 % increase in the number of patients prescribed anti-gout medications between 2008 and 2012 with an increase of 27 % in the associated ingredient cost of these medications. Allopurinol accounted for 87 % of the prescribing and febuxostat accounted for a further 9 %. In patients who started on 100 mg allopurinol, only 14.6 % were titrated to the 300 mg dose. For all those initiating urate-lowering therapies, 45.8 % of patients were persistent with treatment at 6 months decreasing to 22.6 % at 12 months. In multivariate analysis, females had poorer adherence (OR = 0.83 (0.77-0.90)), and increasing age was associated with increased adherence (OR = 4.19 (2.53-6.15)) Increasing comorbidity score was associated with increased adherence and persistence at 6 months (OR = 0.68 (0.59-0.79)). Adherence with anti-gout medications in this study cohort was relatively low. Sustained treatment for gouty arthritis is essential in the prevention of serious adverse outcomes.Significance and Innovations-Poor adherence to medications prescribed to patients for the management of chronic diseases such as gout is an ongoing problem which urgently needs to be addressed.-Some of the reasons identified for poor adherence to anti-gout medications include the risk of flare of acute gout with the initiation of urate-lowering therapy (ULT), poor response to ULT and persistence of attacks of acute gout, suboptimal dosing of allopurinol therapy and intolerance of allopurinol.-The results of this study identified adherence and persistence rates of approximately 50 % at 6 months which is in line if not lower than many of the other published studies to date which have measured adherence and persistence using pharmacy claims databases.-The results of poor adherence and persistence affect both the health of the patients with financial implications for the healthcare service.

Keywords: Adherence; Gout; Pharmacy claims database; Urate-lowering therapy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Allopurinol / therapeutic use*
  • Databases, Factual
  • Febuxostat / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Gout / blood
  • Gout / drug therapy*
  • Gout Suppressants / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Ireland
  • Male
  • Medication Adherence*
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sex Factors
  • Uric Acid / blood*
  • Young Adult


  • Gout Suppressants
  • Febuxostat
  • Uric Acid
  • Allopurinol