SAN DIEGO, June 13 (UPI) -- Pharmaceutical companies are working on new medications for gout as experts say up to six million U.S. residents may have the disease.
The New York Times said Saturday that a new gout medication was approved by the Food and Drug Administration this year for the first time in more than four decades.
Ardea Biosciences chief executive Barry Quart, whose San Diego company is attempting to create similar gout medications, said the extremely painful affliction has essentially become forgotten in the medical world.
"It's kind of like the forgotten disease," he told the Times.
But studies indicate the number of gout cases nationwide may have doubled during the last 30 years. The disease typically strikes older individuals and is up to four times more common in men than women.
The Times said gout begins with occasional painful attacks but the attacks increase in frequency as the disease begins to create crystallized deposits called tophi that can be disabling.