Primary Care Docs Keep Gout Patients for Themselves

An audit reveals gout patients are not being referred to specialists.

Primary care physicians are not referring their gout patients to a specialist for treatment and, instead, self-initiate both uric acid lowering (UAL) therapy and gout flare medication without a rheumatology consult, according to the results of a patient record audit by BioTrends Research Group.

The audit focused on the management and treatment of gout in the US and appears in ChartTrends: Gout, an annual publication based on patient and laboratory data collected from more than 1,000 gout patient charts.

Additionally, primary care physicians face significant challenges in their training which preclude a timely, accurate diagnosis of gout, the audit reports. Furthermore, primary care physicians have significantly different treatment outcomes and a different mindset in preventing and treating gout flares compared to rheumatologists.

The research also demonstrated that, although only one out of five physicians report that they are dissatisfied with currently available products for the treatment of moderate-to-severe gout, the majority of physicians' patients in the record audit review had serum uric acid levels which exceed 6.0 mg/dL (a therapeutic target threshold which is associated with more frequent attacks of gout).

Among new therapies in development for the treatment of gout, the most robust projections for use were associated with Ardea Biosciences' RDEA-594 compound.

According to Medline Plus, “Gout is a common, painful form of arthritis” that causes “swollen, red, hot, and stiff joints.” The condition is the result of a build-up of uric acid levels in the blood. The build up occurs when the “body produces extra acid or does not eliminate enough.” Likewise, eating too many foods with purines may increase the uric acid levels. Gout affects approximately 840 out of every 100,000 people across the nation.

The ChartTrends: Gout report compares what physicians self-report about disease management to what actually occurs at the patient level. It evaluates patient characteristics that impact clinical management treatment including patient demographic variables, co-morbidities, concomitant medications, and lab values. The publication provides insight into the factors that drive decisions to treat, brand selection of UAL therapies, patient characterizations, and dosing trends among primary care physicians and rheumatologists.

BioTrends Research Group, Inc. provides syndicated and custom market research to pharmaceutical manufacturers competing in clinically evolving, specialty pharmaceutical markets.

Decision Resources, Inc. is a portfolio of companies that offers best-in-class, high-value information and insights on important sectors of the healthcare industry. The analysis and data to are designed to aid clients in making informed decisions.