Gout is currently one of the most common causes of inflammatory arthritis in most industrialised countries. Apart from its high frequency, gout is associated with disability, poor quality of life and increased mortality and therefore represents an ever increasing public health concern. Substantial experimental and epidemiological evidence exists supporting the link between elevated levels of serum uric acid and several comorbidities including cardiovascular and kidney diseases. The cornerstone of effective gout management is long-term serum urate lowering below saturation concentrations (<6 mg/dL or <360 μmol/L) in order to promote crystal dissolution and prevent monosodium urate crystals formation. The management of gout includes not only pharmacological approaches, but also a number of nonpharmacologic interventions aiming at lessening attack risk, lowering uric acid levels and promoting general health while preventing the development of comorbidities. It is of great address whether urate lowering strategies can also lower cardiovascular risk and some preliminary studies in both animal and human subjects suggest that they might. Patient education and appropriate lifestyle advice are core aspects of management of hyperuricemia and gout. The two xanthine oxidase inhibitors currently available are effective as long-term urate lowering therapy although the greater efficacy and good tolerability of febuxostat as urate lowering agent has to be adequately considered especially when the reduction of serum uric acid levels to achieve the target is particularly ambitious and/or the presence of comorbidities increases the risk of adverse effects. Associated comorbidities and cardiovascular risk factors should be also addressed as an important part of the management of chronic hyperuricemia and gout.
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