Epidemiologic Study Findings Show Over 400 Percent Increase in Gout Patient Hospitalizations Since 1993

Study Findings Underscore Burden of Gout on Patients and Healthcare System and Need for Improved Disease Management

Dublin 4, IRELAND

MADRID, Spain, June 14, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Results from a new study to be presented tomorrow at the Annual European Congress of Rheumatology (EULAR) 2017 show a 410 percent increase in hospitalizations between 1993 and 2014 for people living with gout in the United States.  The study (Not Just a Swollen Big Toe:  Increasing All-Cause Hospitalizations in Patients with Gout in the United States:  1993-2014; abstract THU0409) included hospitalizations for any cause among patients with a primary or secondary diagnosis of gout.  Gout is a chronic, progressive inflammatory arthritic condition caused by too much uric acid in the body that, when left untreated, can lead to serious joint and tissue damage.1  People living with gout often have other health conditions such as kidney disease, heart disease, stroke, hypertension or diabetes.2 Horizon Pharma provided research support and funding for this study.

“We were surprised to find that all-cause hospitalization increased almost 100 times more in patients with gout than in the overall U.S. population during the last 22 years,” said Gurkirpal Singh, M.D., lead study investigator and adjunct clinical professor of medicine at Stanford University.  “Improvements in medical documentation and electronic medical records have helped us better capture gout comorbidities over the last two decades, so this data gives us a much more clear picture of the overall burden of gout – one that has been significantly underestimated for too long.”

Using the Nationwide Inpatient Sample (NIS), a random sample of all U.S. community hospitals, Dr. Singh and colleagues examined all inpatient hospitalizations in the NIS from 1993 to 2014 with a primary or secondary diagnosis of gout and compared them to total all-cause (i.e., being hospitalized for any reason) U.S. hospitalizations during the same period.  The NIS is the only U.S. national hospital database with information on all patients regardless of payer, including persons covered by Medicare, Medicaid, private insurance and the uninsured.

Results showed that all-cause hospitalizations in the general U.S. population increased from 33.7 million in 1993 to 35.4 million in 2014, an increase of 4.8 percent.  In patients with gout, all-cause hospitalizations increased from 167,441 in 1993 to 854,475 in 2014, a statistically significant increase of 410 percent.  In 2014, hospitalizations in patients with gout resulted in a cost of more than $42.6 billion.

“We know that living with chronic, uncontrolled gout is associated with life-altering pain and leads to other major health issues, but the degree by which these patients are being hospitalized is staggering,” said N. Lawrence Edwards, M.D., professor of medicine, division of clinical immunology at the University of Florida in Gainesville and chairman of the Gout & Uric Acid Education Society.  “There is a significant lack of awareness and understanding of gout that leads to under-diagnosis and suboptimal management of patients, and this study shows a dramatic burden on both patients and the U.S. healthcare system overall during the last two decades.”

About Gout
Gout is a type of chronic inflammatory arthritis where uric acid builds up in the blood and can lead to severe pain and joint destruction, as well as the manifestation of tophi (hard, uric acid deposits under the skin that contribute to bone and cartilage destruction).1  According to the Gout & Uric Acid Education Society, more than 8.3 million Americans are living with gout – a number that has increased sevenfold over the past five decades.  Some people with gout experience chronic uncontrolled gout.3  They continue to have abnormally high levels of uric acid despite conventional therapies.4

About Horizon Pharma plc
Horizon Pharma plc is a biopharmaceutical company focused on improving patients' lives by identifying, developing, acquiring and commercializing differentiated and accessible medicines that address unmet medical needs.  The Company markets 11 medicines through its orphan, rheumatology and primary care business units.  For more information, please visit www.horizonpharma.com.  Follow @HZNPplc on Twitter or view careers on our LinkedIn page.

Forward-Looking Statements
This press release contains forward-looking statements, including, but not limited to, statements related to the impact of gout on patients and the healthcare system and the need for improved gout management, and other statements that are not historical facts.  These forward-looking statements are based on Horizon Pharma's current expectations and inherently involve significant risks and uncertainties.  Actual results and the timing of events could differ materially from those anticipated in such forward looking statements as a result of these risks and uncertainties, which include, without limitation, risks related to gout impacting patients and the healthcare system in a manner different from historical trends and not as anticipated, as well as other risks related to Horizon Pharma's business detailed from time-to-time under the caption "Risk Factors" and elsewhere in Horizon Pharma's SEC filings and reports, including in its Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2016 and subsequent quarterly reports on Form 10-Q.  Horizon Pharma undertakes no duty or obligation to update any forward-looking statements contained in this press release as a result of new information, future events or changes in its expectations.


  1. Gout and Uric Acid Education Society. Take a Stand on Gout Brochure. Web. June 9, 2017.  http://gouteducation.org/gout-education-kits/for-patients/assets/about-gout-patient-brochure.pdf
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Web. June 9, 2017.  https://www.cdc.gov/arthritis/basics/gout.html  
  3. Gout and Uric Acid Education Society. Web. June 9, 2017.  http://gouteducation.org/
  4. Arthritis Foundation. Web. June 9, 2017.  http://www.arthritis.org/about-arthritis/types/gout/articles/chronic-gout.php

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