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Management of hyperuricemia in asymptomatic patients: A critical appraisal

Published:January 15, 2020DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ejim.2020.01.001

      Highlights

      • Preventive treatment of asymptomatic non-severe hyperuricemia is not recommended.
      • Allopurinol may be considered in AH in three conditions (Table 5).
      • Long-term data on cardiovascular and chronic kidney disease prevention are needed.

      Abstract

      While there is consensus on starting urate-lowering therapy (ULT) in cases of symptomatic hyperuricemia, the frequent condition of asymptomatic hyperuricemia (AH) remains a challenge due to differences in the findings of studies that have addressed the issue. Uric acid has anti-oxidant properties, but high levels predispose to gout and may play a role in metabolic syndrome. We systematically evaluated randomized controlled trials (RCTs) addressing ULT in patients with AH, to assess the current evidence. We found broad heterogeneity among the studies (13 RCTs), in terms of study design and population, making findings challenging to interpret and generalize; hard end-points were not assessed. Allopurinol is often prescribed for AH despite the fact that its use is not backed by conclusive evidence from prospective RCTs, nor is it recommended by the guidelines. Its potential benefits, in terms of absolute risk reduction, must be weighed against its potential for harm since it can trigger severe adverse hypersensitivity reactions, sometimes even fatal. RCTs with hard end-points are needed to assess the risk/benefit of lowering uric acid in subjects with AH, particularly as secondary prevention for cardiovascular risk and in patients with different degrees of renal disease. To date, particularly after the result from the CARES trial, preventive treatment of asymptomatic and non-severe hyperuricemia is not recommended.

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