Cardiovascular safety associated with febuxostat versus allopurinol among patients with gout: Update with accumulated use of febuxostat

Semin Arthritis Rheum. 2022 Oct:56:152080. doi: 10.1016/j.semarthrit.2022.152080. Epub 2022 Aug 3.


Background: To re-evaluate comparative cardiovascular (CV) safety of febuxostat versus allopurinol among patients with gout following recent accumulated use of febuxostat.

Methods: Using 2011-2019 Korea National Health Insurance database, we conducted a cohort study comparing gout patients initiating febuxostat versus allopurinol, 1:1 matched on a propensity-score (PS) for >60 covariates. The primary outcome was a composite endpoint of myocardial infarction, coronary revascularization, and stroke. Secondary outcomes were individual components of the primary outcome, hospitalized heart failure, and all-cause mortality. Subgroup analyses were done for those at high CV risk, long-term users (follow-up >3 years), and those without chronic kidney disease. We used Cox proportional hazard models to estimate hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs).

Results: We included 160,930 PS-matched pairs of febuxostat and allopurinol users (mean age 59.3 years, 79.6% male). Incidence rates of the primary outcome were 2.06 and 2.27 per 100 person-years for febuxostat and allopurinol users, respectively, with a HR [95% CI] of 1.03 [0.95-1.12] comparing febuxostat versus allopurinol initiators. We also observed similar risks for secondary outcomes, except for reduced all-cause mortality among febuxostat users (HR [95% CI] of 0.84 [0.78-0.91]). Subgroup analyses also showed non-inferior CV safety of febuxostat.

Conclusion: In this population-based cohort study including the largest number of febuxostat users to date, we found non-inferior CV safety of febuxostat versus allopurinol. There was a 16% reduction in all-cause mortality among febuxostat users.

Keywords: Allopurinol; Cardiovascular safety; Febuxostat; Gout.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Allopurinol / adverse effects
  • Cohort Studies
  • Febuxostat / adverse effects
  • Female
  • Gout Suppressants / adverse effects
  • Gout* / complications
  • Humans
  • Hyperuricemia* / complications
  • Hyperuricemia* / drug therapy
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Myocardial Infarction* / chemically induced
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Gout Suppressants
  • Febuxostat
  • Allopurinol