Efficacy and Safety of Pharmacologic Interventions in Patients Experiencing a Gout Flare: A Systematic Review and Network Meta-Analysis

Linan Zeng, Anila Qasim, Tuhina Neogi, John D. Fitzgerald, Nicola Dalbeth, Ted R. Mikuls, Gordon H. Guyatt, Romina Brignardello-Petersen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Objective: To compare the relative efficacy and safety of pharmacologic antiinflammatory interventions for gout flares. Methods: We searched Ovid Medline, Embase, and Cochrane library for randomized controlled trials (RCTs) that compared pharmacologic antiinflammatory treatment of gout flares. We conducted a network meta-analysis (NMA) using a frequentist framework and assessed the certainty of evidence and made conclusions using the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development, and Evaluation for NMA. Results: In the 30 eligible RCTs, canakinumab provided the highest pain reduction at day 2 and at longest follow-up (mean difference relative to acetic acid derivative nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs [NSAIDs] –41.12 [95% confidence interval (95% CI) –53.36, –29.11] on a 0–100 scale at day 2, and mean difference –12.84 [95% CI –20.76, –4.91] at longest follow-up; both moderate certainty; minimum important difference –19). Intravenous or intramuscular corticosteroids were inferior to canakinumab but may be better than the other commonly used interventions (low to very low certainty). For joint tenderness, canakinumab may be the most effective intervention at day 2. Acetic acid derivative NSAIDs improved joint swelling better than ibuprofen NSAIDs at day 2 (mean difference –0.29 [95% CI –0.56, –0.02] on a 0–4 scale; moderate certainty) and improved patient global assessment (PtGA) greater than ibuprofen NSAIDs at the longest follow-up (mean difference –0.44 [95% CI –0.86, –0.02]; moderate). Conclusion: Canakinumab may be superior to other alternatives and intravenous or intramuscular corticosteroids may be the second best in pain reduction. Acetic acid derivative NSAIDs may be superior to ibuprofen NSAIDs in improving joint swelling and PtGA.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)755-764
Number of pages10
JournalArthritis care & research
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rheumatology


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