An Australian smartphone app that tracks urate levels is to be tested in a large scale trial to for its ability to prevent gout attacks.
The GoutTrack app, developed by the University of NSW, is to be used by 560 patients with the aim of improving adherence to urate lowering therapy and achieving a target plasma urate ≤ 0.36 mmol/L.
The app has already been vindicated in pilot trials and will be offered to adults whose gout is being managed by a GP and who have had at least two gout attacks in the previous year.
Patients will use the Healthy.me app, which is tailored for the self-management of gout. The ‘Uric Acid Tracker’ takes an individual’s urate levels supplied by the GP or path lab and displays this in graph form along with an individual’s gout attack diary data.
“This personalised feedback will enable the patients to relate their high-serum urate levels to the occurrence of gout attacks … and recognise attack-free benefits of urate lowering therapy adherence … when their serum urate is consistently low,” the trial protocol states.
The app also triggers alerts if the user’s serum urate is not in the target range and recommends they discuss their gout management with their GP.
Study leader Professor Ric Day, a clinical pharmacologist at UNSW Medicine’s St Vincent’s Clinical School, says gout patients now have access to effective urate lowering therapies such as allopurinol or febuxostat, but the key is to tackle poor adherence to preventive medications
“Our work over the last 30 years has been very much focused on trying to understand gout and developing a therapy. But to make a difference on a large scale, it was time to get our research out in the community,” he said.
“That is where the idea of the gout app came in. We are very excited about this app, as it is a new way of helping people with gout. It is a personalised addition to their treatment to help them manage their gout.”
The 12 month trial is now recruiting patients via the University of NSW.