Understanding and perceptions of gout: an interdisciplinary assessment among patients, physicians and pharmacists in Italy
The objective was to assess knowledge and therapeutic approaches to the management of gout among healthcare professionals and people with/without gout, in Italy. This was a cross-sectional internet-based survey targeting general practitioners (GPs), specialists, pharmacists, and people with/without gout. Between December 2017 and March 2018, participants completed questionnaires on epidemiology, cause/risk factors, therapy objectives and management/treatment strategies to improve outcomes. Overall, 3184 people completed the survey: 699 GPs, 426 specialists, 655 pharmacists and 1404 subjects from the general population: 126 (9.0%) with and 1278 (91.0%) without gout. Notably, less than half of GPs, specialists and people without gout confirmed the published 1% prevalence of gout in Italy. Lifestyle was acknowledged as the main risk factor for gout by nearly 50% of specialists and GPs, while only 13.8% and 12.4%, respectively, considered the role of genetic factors. Uric acid overproduction was deemed as the cause of gout by 60% of GPs and specialists, whereas insufficient excretion by only 30%. Fewer than half of patients were aware that gout permanently damages joints, and even fewer of the renal and cardiovascular implications (19.4% and 12%, respectively); moreover, most people without gout replied that their doctor had never talked with them about uric acid and its correlation with gout development. Finally, GPs were divided on uric acid target levels (48.3% said <6 mg/dL and 18.9% <7 mg/dL). Despite major advances in the knowledge of physiopathological mechanisms of gout, the results of our survey highlight the many treatment and knowledge gaps in its management. Cooperation between multidisciplinary teams is required to break down barriers and ensure optimal treatment with effective and innovative agents of this ever-increasing debilitating condition.
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