Febuxostat and Cardiovascular Events: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

John A. Cuenca, Javier Balda, Ana Palacio, Larry Young, Michael H. Pillinger, Leonardo Tamariz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Background. Febuxostat is approved in the United States for the management of hyperuricemia in patients with gout. In November 2017 the FDA released a warning alert on a possible link between febuxostat and cardiovascular disease (CVD) reported in a single clinical trial. Objective. To conduct a systematic review and meta-Analysis and assess the risk of major adverse cardiovascular events (MACE) in patients receiving febuxostat compared to a control group. Methods. We searched the MEDLINE and EMBASE database for studies published up until March 2018. We included randomized clinical trials (RCTs) that compared febuxostat to control groups including placebo and allopurinol. We calculated the pooled relative risk (RR) of MACE and cardiovascular disease (CVD) mortality with the corresponding 95% confidence intervals (CI). Results. Our search yielded 374 potentially relevant studies. Among the 25 RCTs included in the systematic review, 10 qualified for the meta-Analysis. Among the 14,402 subjects included, the median age was 54 years (IQR 52-67) and 90% were male (IQR 82-96); 8602 received febuxostat, 5118 allopurinol, and 643 placebo. The pooled RR of MACE for febuxostat was 0.9; 95% CI 0.6-1.5 (p= 0.96) compared to the control. The RR of CV-related death for febuxostat was 1.29; 95% CI 1.01-1.66 (p=0.03). Conclusions. Compared with other SU-lowering treatments, febuxostat does not increase or decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease but may increase the risk of CVD death. More RCTs measuring cardiovascular safety as a primary outcome are needed to adequately evaluate the risk of CVD with febuxostat.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1076189
JournalInternational Journal of Rheumatology
StatePublished - 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rheumatology
  • Immunology


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