Recent approaches to gout drug discovery: an update

Expert Opin Drug Discov. 2020 Aug;15(8):943-954. doi: 10.1080/17460441.2020.1755251. Epub 2020 Apr 24.


Introduction: Inflammation induced by urate deposition in joints causes gout. Healthy individuals maintain serum levels of urate by balancing urate production/excretion, whereas a production/excretion imbalance increases urate levels. Hyperuricemia is diagnosed when the serum urate level is continuously above 7 mg/dl as the solubility limit, and urate accumulates in the kidneys and joints. Because hyperuricemia increases the risk of gout, therapies aim to eliminate urate deposition to prevent gouty arthritis and kidney injury.

Areas covered: This review discusses the mechanism underlying hyperuricemia with respect to urate production and urate transport, along with urate-lowering therapeutics, including urate synthesis inhibitors, uricolytic enzymes, and uricosuric agents. The authors asses published data on relevant commercial therapy development projects and clinical trials.

Expert opinion: Available treatment options for hyperuricemia are limited. Allopurinol, a urate synthesis inhibitor, is generally administered at a reduced dosage to patients with renal impairment. Some URAT1 inhibitors have an unfavorable side effect profile. A promising strategy for treatment is the use of uricosuric agents that inhibit transporters (e.g. URAT1, URATv1/GLUT9, OAT10) which reabsorb urate from the urine.

Keywords: Hyperuricemia; hypoxanthine; urate; urate synthesis inhibitor; urate transporter; uricolytic enzyme; uricosuric agent; xanthine oxidase.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Allopurinol / administration & dosage
  • Allopurinol / adverse effects
  • Allopurinol / pharmacology
  • Arthritis, Gouty / prevention & control
  • Drug Discovery*
  • Gout / drug therapy*
  • Gout / physiopathology
  • Gout Suppressants / administration & dosage
  • Gout Suppressants / adverse effects
  • Gout Suppressants / pharmacology
  • Humans
  • Hyperuricemia / drug therapy*
  • Hyperuricemia / physiopathology
  • Uric Acid / metabolism


  • Gout Suppressants
  • Uric Acid
  • Allopurinol