Using medications can help gout patients treat an acute attack and live with fewer attacks, leading to less pain throughout their life. However, not all medications are created equal.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently released a safety announcement that concluded using Uloric (febuxostat) correlates with an increased risk of death, compared to patients who took allopurinol to treat their symptoms.

The FDA required the drug manufacturer to perform a safety clinical trial in more than 6,000 patients that found an increased risk of death from all causes, but particularly from heart-related death. Other complications included:

  • Non-deadly heart attack
  • Non-deadly stroke
  • Unstable angina, which is a condition of inadequate blood supply to the heart that requires intervention

Relevant symptoms

Gout patients should tell their doctor if they have a history of heart problems or strokes, regardless of whether they have taken Uloric yet. Emergency attention may be necessary if patients experience the following symptoms while taking the drug:

  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Rapid or irregular heartbeat
  • Numbness or weakness on one side of the body
  • Dizziness
  • Issues with talking
  • Sudden and severe headaches

However, the FDA recommends patient continue using Uloric until they talk with their doctor, because skipping medication can worsen gout symptoms. A doctor can discuss the benefits and risks for individual patients using gout.

Few medicinal alternatives

Unfortunately, gout patients have few alternatives for medications, even though approximately 8.3 million U.S. adults suffer from gout. If you or someone you love have gout and have taken medications, it is likely Uloric was among them. Patients who have experienced relevant side effects are encouraged to report them to the FDA.

Patients and their loved ones may also have a claim for damages if they were seriously hurt or died due to Uloric’s effects. While product liability for drug manufacturing can be complex, working with someone who can assess a case can help provide families with compensation for a life-threatening injury or wrongful death.