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Getting Out the Gout

An underdiagnosed condition gets its first new drug in 40 years.

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vintage gout illustration

james gillray; Print Collection, Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs, The New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox and Tilden Foundations

AN AILMENT THAT USUALLY STRIKES during ages of opulence now afflicts 5.1 million Americans. The return of gout, which is caused by uric acid crystallizing in the joints, is linked with the obesity epidemic. The overweight produce too much uric acid and don’t excrete it well. Though gout has been around for millennia, the condition is still often underdiagnosed and mismanaged—more’s the pity, now that the FDA has approved Uloric (febuxostat), the first new gout drug in 40 years, which lowers uric acid more effectively than previous treatments.

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