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Clinical Appraisal of an Article on Prognosis. The Clinical Question. What is the risk of mortality among patients with hyperuricemia who received allupurinol ? PUBMED Search/Mesh Terms : Allopurinol Hyperuricemia Mortality Survival Advanced Search: Humans Males English.

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Clinical Appraisal of an Article on Prognosis

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the clinical question
The Clinical Question

What is the risk of mortality among patients with hyperuricemia who received allupurinol?

  • PUBMED Search/Mesh Terms:
    • Allopurinol
    • Hyperuricemia
    • Mortality
    • Survival
  • Advanced Search:
    • Humans
    • Males
    • English
limit by topics language and journal groups
Limit by topics, language and Journal groups
  • Human, Male, English, Aged 65 +
the article
The Article
  • Andrew J. Luk et al.
  • Allopurinol and mortality in hyperuricaemicpatients
  • Rheumatology 2009;48:804–806

Is the objective of the article on prognosis similar to your clinical dilemma?

Yes, the study aims to investigate the role of urate-lowering therapy on the risk of premature death associated with gout and hyperuricemia. They examined the impact of allopurinol, the most commonly used urate-lowering drug, on the risk of mortality in hyperuricaemic patients.


Was there a representative sample of patients without the outcome at the start of observation?

Yes, they specified how they defined patients included in the study. The VA Consumer Health Information and Performance Sets (CHIPS) database was used, where the source population consists of veterans ≥40 years of age within the Northwest Veterans Integrated Service Network. They selected a hyperuricaemic population, defined as having at least one outpatient serum urate level >416 μmol/l (7.0 mg/dl) between the years 2000 and 2007. Subjects were excluded if they had an estimated glomerular filtration rate (GFR) of <30 ml/min prior dialysis or renal/organ transplantation, or history of malignancy.

They also defined a cohort of hyperuricaemic subjects treated with allopurinol (allopurinol group) on the basis of (i) incident allopurinol use between 1 January 2000 and 31 December 200 and (ii) an outpatient serum urate level >416 _mol/l (7.0 mg/dl) within 1 year prior to allopurinol initiation. Three non-allopurinol treated control subjects were identified for each allopurinol user, on the basis of (i) being alive and at-risk at the time the allopurinol-treated subject initiated allopurinol (index time) and (ii) having hyperuricaemia (as defined above) during the previous year.


Was follow-up siufficiently long and complete?

  • Yes, both allopurinol and control subjects began accruing risk time beginning with the time of incident allopurinol use in the allopurinol group and index time in the control group, and were followed until death, study closure, or no further contact with the VA for 18 consecutive months

Where the criteria for determining the prognostic factor and outcome explicit and credible?

Yes. In the study, the role of Allopurinol on the risk of premature death associated with gout and hyperuricemia was determined. They used Cox proportional hazards models, with robust standard errors, to estimate the independent association between allopurinol exposure and the risk of death


Was there adjustment for other prognostic factors?

Yes. They used multivariate models to adjust demographics (age, race and gender), BMI, comorbidities (as defined by ICD-9 CM codes for hypertension, diabetes and CVD), healthcare utilization (as defined by number of previous primary care or internal medicine visits at baseline), use of cardiovascular and other medications [statins, fibrates, angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs), B-blockers, calcium channel blockers, low-dose aspirin, NSAIDs, loop diuretics, hydrochlorothiazide (HCTZ) and losartan], baseline serum levels of urate, cholesterol, albumin and baseline GFR. The multivariate models also adjusted for the Charlson index [8], which is a composite index of diagnoses that includes myocardial infarction, congestive heart failure (CHF), peripheral vascular disease, cerebrovascular disease, dementia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, peptic ulcer disease, liver disease, diabetes with complications, renal disease, cancer and AIDS/HIV.


Overall, is the study valid?

Since all the validity questions were fulfilled, the study can be considered to be valid.


How large is the likelihood of outcome to occur in those with the prognostic factor in a specified period of time? Was it statistically significant?

In the study, hazard ratio was used to estimate the relative risk. After adjusting for baseline urate levels, allopurinol treatment was associated with a lower risk of all-cause mortality [hazard ratio (HR) 0.78; 95% CI 0.67, 0.91)] (Table 2). Further stepwise adjustment for potential confounders such as demographics, comorbidities, healthcare utilization, cardiovascular and other medications and baseline cholesterol, albumin and GFR did not appreciably alter the HR (0.77; 95% CI 0.65, 0.91) (Table 2). Results from an as-treated model were slightly stronger (HR 0.73; 95% CI 0.62, 0.86). All these factors are statistical significant at p <0.05

will the results help me in caring for my patients
Will the Results Help Me in Caring for my patients?

Were the study patients similar to my own ?

Yes, our patient’s characteristics assume baseline characteristics of the subjects included in this study. Our patient in the case is a 50 year old obese male, diagnosed with gout and azotemia. The patients in the study were mostly male (98%) mean age of 62.7 years, and selected hyperuriceamic patients. Although they excluded patients with a GFR of <30ml/min, this does not necessarily mean that our patient should be excluded, this very low GFR indicates that they excluded those who already have stage 3 Chronic kidney disease or higher, not patients with azotemia.

will the results help in caring for my patient
Will the Results Help in Caring for my Patient?

Are results useful for reassuring or counseling patients?

  • -YES The use of allopurinol will definitely benefit our patient. It is useful not only with lowering the serum uric acid level, but also it shows survival benefit with its use.
resolution of the problem in the scenario
  • Based on the results in the study, I would encourage my patients to undergo allopurinol treatment because it may prolong the life of the patients with gout and hyperuricemia.