Medacs Healthcare

NOV 27/2012

New guidance may 'transform' GPs' management of gout

GPs may benefit from new guidance on the treatment and management of gout.

Produced in a one-page, laminated format for ease of use, the new guidance presents the most important information in an accessible manner that can be kept on display in GP surgeries.

In this way, both permanent GPs and those in locum doctor jobs can easily get hold of the information they need to treat patients in the most effective way.

Dr Chris Deighton, president of the British Society for Rheumatology (BSR), explained that many patients suffer from unnecessary pain, despite the fact that gout is curable.

In addition, people with untreated gout may develop permanent joint damage, as well as experiencing an elevated risk of death from heart conditions.

The new guidance, produced by the BSR in conjunction with the Primary Care Rheumatology Society and Keele University, aims to change that.

"It is a little known fact that people of working age with ongoing, symptomatic gout take 4.5 more health-related days off work per year, and incur almost twice the health costs of people who do not have gout," Dr Deighton revealed.

"By making it easier for our primary care colleagues to have ready access to best practice guidelines, we hope to see a major reduction in the burden of the disease, benefiting not just the individuals spared the extreme pain of severe gout, but the wider economy too."

Most GPs will come into contact with patients with gout, as the disease is the most common form of inflammatory arthritis in the UK and is largely diagnosed and managed in primary care.

However, many people in doctor jobs in the UK fail to diagnose and treat gout optimally.

The new gout guidelines should improve this situation by providing background information on the disease, detailing its clinical course and giving diagnostic recommendations.

GPs should also find the treatment section of the guidance sheet extremely useful, as it details the benefits and risks of the most common drug groups used to treat gout, as well as a flowchart to help deal with different scenarios.

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