Pegloticase, a PEGylated uricase for uncontrolled gout, rapidly lowers serum urate (SU). Not all patients complete a full-therapy course because anti-pegloticase antibodies can develop, causing efficacy loss and infusion reactions. The literature and clinical trial data indicate that methotrexate co-administration markedly improves pegloticase response rates from the established monotherapy response rate of 42%. Unfortunately, methotrexate use is restricted by kidney disease, which is often present in uncontrolled gout patients. Leflunomide is less restricted in patients with renal dysfunction. This study examined the treatment response rate of pegloticase co-administered with leflunomide.
Patients co-treated with pegloticase (8 mg biweekly infusion) and oral leflunomide (20 mg/day) were included. Patient/treatment characteristics and safety parameters (adverse events [AEs], laboratory parameters) were examined. Pre-infusion prophylaxis was administered (day of infusion: IV solumedrol, night before and morning of infusion: oral fexofenadine or diphenhydramine). Patients were considered treatment responders if ≥ 12 pegloticase infusions were administered and pre-infusion SU < 6 mg/dl at infusion-12.
Ten patients (five male, 72.7 ± 12.5 years) were included. The most common comorbidities were chronic kidney disease (90%), hypertension (70%), diabetes mellitus (60%), obesity (60%), and congestive heart failure (50%). Baseline SU was 7.1 ± 2.4 mg/dl and nine patients (90%) had subcutaneous tophi noted. Seven patients (70%) met responder criteria, receiving 26.6 ± 14.0 infusions (range 13-55) with a pre-infusion-12 SU of 0.9 ± 1.5 mg/dl. The three non-responders received < 12 infusions because of unrelated AEs or loss of follow-up. Three patients (30%) experienced AEs. One had unrelated cardiac disease worsening and three gout flares, one had a pre-infusion solumedrol reaction (wooziness/loss of consciousness), and one had two mild, transient increases in liver enzymes.
This study supports leflunomide as co-therapy to pegloticase in uncontrolled gout patients. Heterogeneity and high comorbidity burden in uncontrolled gout patients makes having a variety of immunomodulators options important.

© 2022. The Author(s).