Christchurch researcher easing the pain of gout
19th February 2018
A Christchurch rheumatologist has won New Zealand’s top prize for research into how increasing dosages of gout medicines can dramatically improve patients’ lives.
Professor Lisa Stamp’s study showed it was safe and effective to increase doses of a crucial drug for managing gout. It provided clear evidence in an area where there was much confusion worldwide.
Gout is the most common form of inflammatory arthritis, affecting tens of millions worldwide.
Stamp, from the University of Otago, Christchurch, was this month awarded the Medicines New Zealand’s Value of Medicines Award. The award came with $20,000 to further her research.
The judges said Stamp’s study would have “a high impact on patient care, especially benefitting Māori, Pacific and renal patients.” The research would also have a big impact internationally, the judges said.
In 2016, a group of international gout experts advised doctors not to use higher doses of the drug. Stamp’s robust clinical study found using higher doses of allopurinol was safe and could prevent ongoing attacks of the painful disease. It could also help stop the disease from progressing to a chronic state in many patients.
In the study, published in the prestigious journal Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases, one group of patients had increased doses, while another group did not. Stamp found the two groups experienced similar rates of side-effects. Those on higher doses of allopurinol had better blood results for a crucial measure of the disease.
Stamp says she will use the prize money for further research on predicting patient responses to allopurinol.