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Gout busters

23 February 2017

Health Care

Southend University Hospital is part of a new pilot study to help make life better for sufferers of gout who also have kidney problems.

Think of gout and most will think of it as 'the disease of kings' with images conjured up of Henry VIII swilling wine and eating rich meats. Not so, as Dr Gowrie Balasubramaniam, Consultant in Nephrology at the Trust and Chief Investigator for the trial, explained.

"There are a lot of misconceptions about gout such as drinking heavily and eating lots of rich foods, but it isn't about that. I don't think that there is a stigma attached to it but there are a lot of people who worry that if they get a gout attack it is something to do with their lifestyle or what they are eating or drinking.

"The average gout sufferer is a slightly older person with heart trouble, kidney trouble and are on lots of medication and that is why we are doing this study. Some of the treatments can potentially be harmful to people with kidney disease, so now we have two treatments which we think are very good and don't harm the kidneys."

To support that, both treatments need to be trialled to ascertain if one works better than another, or if they are both just as good. The intention then is that, after a successful trial, patients will be able to start using the kidney friendly treatments.

The Anakinra vs Steroids for Gout Attacks in people with Renal Disease (ASGARD) study, run by Anglia Ruskin University, compares steroids, the safest treatment currently available for acute gout attacks in patients with chronic kidney disease, with a new treatment called Anakinra.

Dr Balasubramaniam said:"The study is looking for at least 32 people, ideally in their 70s, who have some amount of kidney trouble. The idea is that we want to reach and help those people suffering with gout before it turns into permanent kidney damage in their 80s or 90s."

One of those taking part in the trial is Stuart Jacobs, aged 80, from Westcliff, who has suffered with gout for the last ten years. He said: "It started in my foot with extreme pain in about 2001, I thought it had gone away but then came back with a vengeance in my hands and elbows. When I get an attack it is really bad."

It has had a huge impact on Mr Jacobs' quality of life, so bad that at one stage he was unable to walk and he is taking part in this pilot to help improve his quality of life without compromising his kidneys.

He concluded: "If I can help that's it, I want to help. What I'm trying to do is to find a way of treating gout without affecting my kidneys. If I get an attack it could lead to something worse, so if I can do something that helps that would be great for both me and other sufferers."

If you are interested in taking part in the pilot study please contact call 07522 173 522