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Research Summary

Alcohol Intake Triggers Recurrent Gout Attacks

Alcohol use may trigger recurrent gout attacks. Researchers tested this hypothesis through a web-based study of people who had a gout attack in the past year. Subjects were recruited online over 10 months and completed online surveys that assessed alcohol use and risk factors for gout attacks.

  • Over 1 year of follow-up, 321 gout attacks occurred among 197 subjects.

  • In analyses adjusted for diuretic use and purine intake, the likelihood of a gout attack increased as alcohol intake increased within the

    • 24 hours preceding the attack (P <0.02) (e.g., odds ratios comparing drinking with not drinking: 1.4 [95% CI, 0.6–2.4] for 1–2 drinks; 3.1 [95% CI, 1.0–11.0] for >7 drinks);
    • 48 hours preceding the attack (P <0.005) (e.g., odds ratios 1.1 [95% CI, 0.7–2.0] for 1–2 drinks; 2.5 [95% CI, 1.1–5.9] for >7 drinks).
  • In analyses also adjusted for total alcohol consumption, the risk of an attack was not associated with any specific alcoholic beverage.

Comments:

According to this study, the risk of a recurrent gout attack significantly increases as drinking increases, particularly in people drinking >7 drinks, in the 24 or 48 hours before the attack. Total consumption appears to affect risk more than intake of a specific beverage. Thus, people with gout should be very careful about consuming alcohol, especially larger amounts, as such consumption could trigger a gout attack.

R. Curtis Ellison, MD

Reference:

Zhang Y, Woods R, Chaisson CE, et al. Alcohol consumption as a trigger of recurrent gout attacks. Am J Med. 2006;119(9):800.e13–800.e18.


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