Gout is not associated with an increased risk of fracture, according to a large UK study including thousands of primary care patients.
Those behind the research noted that their findings contrast with those of previous studies, which indicated a higher risk of fracture in people with the painful inflammatory arthritis.
“These findings should be reassuring to patients, healthcare policymakers and clinicians”
They said it had previously been suggested that, in common with other chronic inflammatory arthritides such as rheumatoid arthritis, gout may be associated with an increased risk of fracture, primarily owing to the negative effects of chronic inflammation on bone
The researchers, from Keele University in Staffordshire, conducted their study using the Clinical Practice Research Datalink.
It included 31,781 patients with gout who were matched to 12,2961 controls and followed for between 6.8 and 13.6 years until the first diagnosis of a fracture.
The rate of fracture was similar in people with and without gout, said the researchers in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.
They found the absolute rate of fracture was similar in both cases and controls at 53 and 55 per 10,000 person-years, respectively.
“Our findings remained consistent when we stratified our analysis by age, sex and fracture site,” they stated.
“Our use of a nationally representative cohort should enable our study findings to be generalisable”
In addition, the researchers found medication to lower urate levels in people with gout did not appear to benefit or adversely affect the long-term risk of fractures.
They said: “We did not observe statistically significant differences in the risk of fracture among those prescribed urate-lowering therapy within one and three years after gout diagnosis.
“These findings should be reassuring to patients, healthcare policymakers and clinicians,” they added.
Senior study author Dr Zoe Paskins, from the Arthritis Research UK Primary Care Centre at Keele, said: “Our use of a nationally representative cohort should enable our study findings to be generalisable not only to the UK but also to other countries with similar healthcare systems.”
The study was funded by the National Institute for Health Research School for Primary Care Research.