Patients with vs without gout may be at increased risk for epilepsy, according to study results published in Medicine.
Previous studies have reported the potential association between gout, an inflammatory disorder related to uric acid metabolism, and neurologic disorders, including autoimmune and neurodegenerative dementia and Alzheimer disease. While inflammation may also increase the risk for epilepsy, limited data are available on the association between gout and epilepsy.
Using the Registry of Catastrophic Illnesses Patient Database, the researchers identified patients aged >20 years who were newly diagnosed with gout. The gout and control cohorts included 51,893 and 103,057 participants, respectively.
Risk for epilepsy was significantly higher in patients with gout compared with control participants (crude hazard ratio [HR], 1.27; 95% CI, 1.17-1.38). Gout was also associated with a significantly increased risk for epilepsy after adjustment for age, sex, and comorbidities (adjusted HR, 1.25; 95% CI, 1.15-1.36).
Risk for epilepsy was higher among men vs women with gout (adjusted HR, 1.29; 95% CI, 1.17-1.41). Increased risk for epilepsy was also noted for patients with diabetes (adjusted HR, 1.18; 95% CI, 1.05-1.33), hypertension (adjusted HR, 1.61; 95% CI, 1.45-1.79), stroke (adjusted HR, 2.86; 95% CI, 2.51-3.26), coronary artery disease (adjusted HR, 1.20; 95% CI, 1.09-1.32), and head injury (adjusted HR, 2.11; 95% CI, 1.83-2.43).
Increased risk for epilepsy was evident among all age groups in patients with vs those without gout. For participants aged ≤34 years, the risk for epilepsy was 1.63-fold higher in patients with gout; for those aged 35 to 49 years, the risk for epilepsy was 1.22-fold higher in patients with gout; for those aged 50 to 64 years, gout was associated with a 1.27-fold higher risk for epilepsy; and for those aged ≥65 years, the risk for epilepsy was 1.18-fold higher in patients with gout compared with control participants.
Study limitations included lack of original clinical data and lifestyle information, including frequency of smoking and alcohol consumption.
“This study revealed a significantly higher risk [for] epilepsy in patients with gout. It provides further evidence for the debate around the effect of gout on brain health,” concluded the researchers.
Chen HL, Hsu YC, Chen CH, et al. Gout and the risk of epilepsy: a population-based cohort study. Medicine (Baltimore). 2020;99(26):e20823.