Incidence, Prevalence, and Burden of Gout in the Veterans Health Administration

Racial Differences in Contraception Encounters and Dispensing Among Female Medicaid Beneficiaries With Systemic Lupus Erythematosus

Objective

To determine the prevalence, incidence, and burden of gout in the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) from 2005 to 2014.

Methods

We used national VHA data from January 1999 to December 2014 to determine the annual incidence and prevalence of gout in the VHA. Gout burden to the VHA was determined by the proportion of patients with an encounter related to gout. Rates of urate-lowering therapy (ULT) and opiate use were determined annually. Characteristics of those with and without gout were compared using 2014 data.

Results

From 2005 to 2014, gout prevalence in the VHA increased from 4.2% to 5.8%, while disease incidence ranged from 5.8 to 7.4 cases per 1,000 patient-years. Gout prevalence was highest among men, older patients, and non-Hispanic black patients. During 2014, 4.0% of all inpatient or outpatient encounters and 1.3% of hospitalizations were gout related. Administration of ULT remained stable over the 10-year period, with 46% of gout patients receiving ULT in 2014. In contrast, 16.4% of prevalent gout patients were receiving a weak opioid in 2014, nearly doubling the prescription rate of weak opioids in 2005, while the use of stronger opioids did not change significantly over this period. Patients with gout had greater comorbidity and health care utilization than patients without gout.

Conclusion

The burden posed by gout in the VHA is considerable and increased between 2005 and 2014. While the use of ULT has remained stable, the use of opioid therapy has increased among patients with gout.

Source: Online Library, Wiley

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