February 14, 2009

First new gout drug in 40 years approved

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved a new drug for gout, the first new prescription for the painful condition in 40 years, its maker says.

Takeda Pharmaceuticals North America Inc. of Deerfield, Ill., said Friday its Uloric drug has been approved by the FDA for the more than 5 million U.S. victims of gout, a malady characterized by intense pain, inflammation and warmth in affected joints, the Chicago Tribune reported.

The newspaper said most doctors use well-established generic treatments such as allopurinol for gout, in which high levels of uric acid in the body are responsible for an inflammatory form of arthritis most common in men older than 40.

Takeda said Uloric reduces patients' uric acid levels to low enough levels to reduce the number of painful flare-ups.