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Annals of Rheumatic Disease reports that gout is associated with higher work absenteeism and thus, increased costs for society due to productivity loss.
Using Swedish national and regional registry data from 2000 to 2012, researchers studied 4571 gout patients of working age, and compared them to 22 482 population controls and assessed patient characteristics, work-loss days (absenteeism), sick leave and disability.
Gout patients had significantly more comorbidities, lower income and lower level of education levels when compared to matched controls.
Work absentee rate over a 3-year follow-up was higher in gout than controls, 22% and 14%, respectively (P<0.0001).
New-onset absenteeism was was 47% more likely in gout patients (OR 1.47). New-onset work absenteeism was also more likely with comorbidities, lower education, previous unemployment and history of sick leave.
The authors suggest that future studies are needed to know if better or intensive treatment of gout would be cost-effective by reducing work disability.