On December 22, 2015, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved AstraZeneca's Zurampic (lesinurad) for the treatment of high blood uric acid levels (hyperuricemia) associated with gout. This is a wonderful Christmas gift for people suffering from gout, a painful form of arthritis caused by too much uric acid in the body. Zurampic is the first new type of drug approved for treatment of gout in over 50 years.
Over 8.3 million US adults have gout. Gout occurs when uric acid, a waste product in the body, crystallizes and is deposited in joints or soft tissues. When uric acid crystals accumulate in joints, they trigger inflammation, leading to pain, swelling and stiffness in joints. Common symptoms of gout include intense pain, redness, warmth, swelling, and inflammation of the involved joints. Acute flares typically start at the big toe in 50% of the people with gout.
Medications for acute episodes are used to control symptoms such as joint pain and inflammation during acute gout flares. Medications used for acute gout flares include NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), corticosteroids, and colchicine. Medications for chronic gout treatment control the level of uric acid (the cause of gout) by either blocking uric acid production or improving uric acid removal. Xanthine oxidase inhibitors (e.g., allopurinol, febuxostat) block uric acid production while uricosuric drugs (e.g., probenecid) increases removal of uric acid from the body by the kidneys.