Introduction: To assess the comparative effectiveness of febuxostat and allopurinol in reducing serum urate (sUA) levels in a real-world U.S. managed care setting.
Methods: This retrospective study utilized 2009 to 2012 medical and pharmacy claims and laboratory data from a large U.S. commercial and Medicare Advantage health plan. Study patients had at least one medical claim with a diagnosis of gout, at least one filled prescription for febuxostat or allopurinol and at least one sUA measurement post-index prescription. Reduction in sUA was examined using propensity score-matched cohorts, matched on patient demographics (gender, age), baseline sUA, comorbidities, geographic region and insurance type.
Results: The study sample included 2,015 patients taking febuxostat and 14,025 taking allopurinol. At baseline, febuxostat users had a higher Quan-Charlson comorbidity score (0.78 vs. 0.53; P <0.001), but similar age and gender distribution. Mean (standard deviation (SD)) sUA level following propensity score matching among treatment-naïve febuxostat vs. allopurinol users (n = 873 each) were: pre-index sUA, 8.86 (SD, 1.79) vs. 8.72 (SD, 1.63; P = 0.20); and post-index sUA, 6.53 (SD, 2.01) vs. 6.71 (SD, 1.70; P = 0.04), respectively. A higher proportion of febuxostat users attained sUA goals of <6.0 mg/dl (56.9% vs. 44.8%; P <0.001) and <5.0 mg/dl (35.5% vs. 19.2%; P <0.001), respectively. Time to achieve sUA goals of <6.0 mg/dl (346 vs. 397 days; P <0.001) and <5.0 mg/dl was shorter in febuxostat vs. allopurinol users (431 vs. 478 days; P <0.001), respectively. Similar observations were made for overall propensity score-matched cohorts that included both treatment-naïve and current users (n = 1,932 each).
Conclusions: Febuxostat was more effective than allopurinol at the currently used doses (40 mg/day for febuxostat in 83% users and 300 mg/day or lower for allopurinol in 97% users) in lowering sUA in gout patients as demonstrated by post-index mean sUA level, the likelihood of and the time to achieving sUA goals.