Objectives The study objective was to determine the feasibility of using a pharmacist-staffed, protocol-based structured approach to improving the management of chronic, recurrent gout.
Setting The study was carried out in the outpatient clinic of a single Kaiser Permanente medical centre. This is a community-based clinic.
Participants We report on 100 consecutive patients between the ages of 21 and 94 (75% men) with chronic or recurrent gout, referred by their primary physicians for the purpose of management of urate-lowering therapy. Patients with stage 5 chronic kidney disease or end-stage kidney disease were excluded.
Interventions The programme consisted of a trained clinical pharmacist and a rheumatologist. The pharmacist contacted each patient by phone, provided educational and dietary materials, and used a protocol that employs standard gout medications to achieve and maintain a serum uric acid (sUA) level of 6 mg/dL or less. Incident gout flares or adverse reactions to medications were managed in consultation with the rheumatologist.
Primary outcome measure The primary outcome measure was the achievement and maintenance of an sUA of 6 or less for a period of at least 3 months.
Results In 95 evaluable patients enrolled in our pilot programme, an sUA of 6 mg/dL or less was achieved and maintained in 78 patients with 4 still in the programme to date. Five patients declined to participate after referral, and another 13 patients did not complete the programme. (The majority of these were due to non-adherence.)
Conclusions A structured pharmacist-staffed programme can effectively and safely lower and maintain uric acid levels in a high percentage of patients with recurrent gout in a primary care setting. This care model is simple to implement, efficient and warrants further validation in a clinical trial.
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