Pharma & drug development

The rise of gout: examining drug development for an age-old disease

Gout is often thought of as a disease of a bygone era, confined to the annals of history, but diagnoses have been on the rise in recent years. So, why the increase in cases – and is anything being done about it within drug development? Abi Millar reports.

Gout is often thought of as an ancient disease, confined to overfed royals from years gone by. One notable patient was King Henry VIII, the corpulent English monarch, who suffered debilitating attacks of gout, as well as a litany of other health problems. Others afflicted by gout have included Alexander the Great, Charlemagne and Queen Victoria.

In 1780, US founding father and gout sufferer Benjamin Franklin wrote a whimsical dialogue between himself and ‘Madam Gout’. “You would not only torment my body to death, but ruin my good name; you reproach me as a glutton and a tippler,” he says to Gout, who reprimands him at length for his overeating and lack of exercise.

Even the word ‘gout’ has a medieval ring. First used around 1200 AD, it is derived from the
Latin word ‘gutta’, meaning a drop of liquid. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, it
refers to the ‘dropping of a morbid material from the blood in and around the joints’, which
supposedly happened when one of the four humours was out of balance.

Read the rest of this article in the November 2020 edition of Pharma Technology Focus

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