Comparison of persistence rates between allopurinol and febuxostat as first-line urate-lowering therapy in patients with gout: an 8-year retrospective cohort study.Clin Rheumatol. 2020 Dec; 39(12):3769-3776.CR
Lifelong urate-lowering therapy (ULT) with xanthine oxidase inhibitors (XOIs), such as allopurinol and febuxostat, is the cornerstone of gout treatment. This study aimed to compare drug persistence between allopurinol and febuxostat as first-line ULT in patients with gout in real practice.
In this retrospective cohort study, we evaluated 602 patients with gout in whom allopurinol or febuxostat was newly initiated from December 2011 to November 2018 at a tertiary rheumatology centre. Persistence was defined as the duration from the first description date to the end of treatment with XOIs or the end of the study period (November 2019).
Among the 602 gout patients, the mean age was 60.2 years and 234 (38.9%) patients had tophi. Allopurinol and febuxostat were started in 237 (39.3%) and 365 (60.6%) patients, respectively. During the study period, 282 (46.8%) patients stopped taking XOIs, and the most common reason for XOI withdrawal was poor health literacy (61.3%). The 1- and 5-year persistence rates of XOIs were 67.2% and 40.9%, respectively. In the Kaplan-Meier analysis, persistence rates of allopurinol were significantly lower than those of febuxostat (p < 0.001). In the multivariable Cox regression model, allopurinol use was a significant risk factor for discontinuation of XOIs (HR = 2.01, p < 0.001). In addition, the presence of tophi and symptom duration < 24 months was independently associated with a higher risk of XOI withdrawal.
Long-term persistence of XOIs was suboptimal, and allopurinol had worse persistence rates than febuxostat among patients with gout. Key Points • Long-term persistence of xanthine oxidase inhibitors (XOIs) as first-line urate-lowering therapy (ULT) among patients with gout was suboptimal, and the major reason for XOI discontinuation was poor health literacy in our study. • We demonstrated that allopurinol had worse persistence rates than febuxostat among patients with gout, suggesting that febuxostat is a better option for long-term ULT in light of medication adherence in a real-world setting. • Patients with gout with tophi and shorter symptom duration were found to be at high risk for poor persistence of XOIs.