Health Team

Duke doctor develops drug for gout

Posted September 29, 2010

— With gout, a person’s body isn’t able to get rid of enough uric acid in the urine, so it builds up in the blood and ends up as crystals in soft tissues and joints, causing a lot of pain.

The vast majority of patients find relief with current medications, but until now, those with the most severe cases had no drug options.

In a Duke University Hospital clinical trial two years ago, about 10 percent of the gout sufferers participating found no drug could offer relief from their disabling pain.

“I couldn't shower myself. I couldn't tie my shoes, I couldn't dress myself,” study participant Janet Wheeless said.

Participant Lonnie Matthews was miserable. “I had so long felt like life wasn’t worth living,” Matthews said.

“If the disease isn't controlled well, then eventually the pain is chronic and doesn't completely go away ever, and there can be destruction in the joints,” Duke rheumatologist Dr. Michael Hershfield said.

In 1993, Hershfield started the development of a new drug for the most severe gout cases. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently approved Krystexxa for intravenous treatments twice a month.

New drug treats gout New drug treats gout

Hershfield said the drug contains an enzyme that will degrade uric acid.

With lower levels of uric acid in the blood, the sharp crystal deposits in patients' joints and soft tissues disappeared, along with the unbearable pain.

“My hands were back like they used to be. It saved my life,” Wheeless said.

“I have heard the stories of the patients, and they're very satisfying to me,” Hershfield said.

Krystexxa should be available to gout sufferers by the end of the year.


This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • tkwebste Oct 1, 2010

    The enzyme contained in Kristexxa is not naturally occuring, it has been engineered or genetically altered to degrade uric acid. So while eating your vegitables is always a good idea, it will not cure gout. You can complain about the corporate drug companies all you want, but the reality is that this drug will help people.

  • intuit Oct 1, 2010

    You're right Animal lover, lets just resort back to when we had no Doctors- back when a sneeze indicated sure fatality. Medical advancement gets us nowhere.

    Yeah, the sarcasm is being laid down pretty heavily.

  • CestLaVie Sep 30, 2010

    I made no reference to price gouging in my comments. The WHOLE medical (that INCLUDES hospitals & docs) & drug industries are price gouging. They have control over most people....just like you..who don't or won't think for themselves.

    Yes, I've known people who've "suffered" from gout.

    My comment is NOT ridiculous. You are the one in the dark.....actually the dark ages as far as thinking for yourself on this subject, instead of blindly accepting what the docs & drug industry want you to see & know. Do some research into answers OTHER THAN drugs to treat everything coming down the pike. Can't or won't?? Gee, I'm sorry.

    No natural enzyme that can be used to treat gout??? Natural whole foods are LOADED with enzymes.

  • aboseman Sep 30, 2010

    I guess you have never suffered, or known someone to suffer from gout or else you would not have made your ridiculous comment. In addition, there is no natural enzyme that can be used to treat gout. You also must have never worked for or have any REAL knowledge of a "Big Pharma" company or else you would know that they are not the ones who price gouge on drugs. It's the hospitals. The hospitals have a 50-75% markup on the price of drugs compared to what they pay.

  • CestLaVie Sep 30, 2010

    Of course!!!!!!!!! Who else to develop them? Doctors LOVE drugs. Hey doc - you headed to the FDA or Big Pharma next? It's part of that swinging door between you & your medical & pharmaceutical industries.

    "...said the drug contains an enzyme that will degrade uric acid." Natural, WHOLE foods contain ENZYMES naturally....veggies, fruits, nuts, seeds, whole grains. More of these and NO meats, dairy, poultry or seafoods in millions of peoples' diets would mean MUCH LESS of these "diseases".

    Gotta keep these docs in business. Goodness. What would they do if everyone was healthy & treating themselves through nutrition & exercise???????? I guess they'd be like that lonely, bored guy in the old TV commercials who repaired washing machines.