New treatment funded for severe gout

Media release Medicines

Patients with severe gout will soon have a new treatment option as PHARMAC will be funding  febuxostat (Adenuric) from 1 June 2014.

Gout is a painful form of arthritis, and is associated with high levels of uric acid in the blood. Pharmaceutical gout treatments aim to reduce the level of uric acid in the blood and relieve the symptoms of gout. Gout affects men more than women and is more prevalent among Māori and Pacific people.

PHARMAC’s Director of Operations Sarah Fitt says several pharmaceutical gout treatments are already funded, including allopurinol and probenecid. PHARMAC funded a further treatment for severe gout last year, benzbromarone, although it is an unregistered medicine in New Zealand.

“Our clinical advisory committees have identified a need for additional treatments for severe gout, so it is pleasing to be able to fund febuxostat,” says Sarah Fitt. “While most patients are treated effectively with the currently available treatments, this will offer further relief for patients  with gout that is more  difficult to treat.”

PHARMAC expects funding for febuxostat to account for about $5 million in spending over the next five years.