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The epidemiology of the acute flank pain syndrome from suprofen

Suprofen, a new nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug, was marketed in early 1986 as an analgesic agent. Until physicians began reporting an unusual acute flank pain syndrome to the spontaneous reporting system, 700,000 persons used the drug in the United States. Through August 1986, a total of 163 cases of this syndrome were reported. To elucidate the epidemiology of the syndrome, a case-control study was performed, comparing 62 of the case patients who had been reported to the spontaneous reporting system to 185 suprofen-exposed control subjects who did not have the syndrome. Case patients were more likely to be men (odds ratio, 3.8; 95% confidence interval, 1.2-12.1), suffer from hay fever and asthma (odds ratio, 3.4; 95% confidence interval, 1.0-11.9); to participate in regular exercise (odds ratio, 5.9; 95% confidence interval, 1.1-30.7), especially in the use of Nautilus equipment (p = 0.02); and to use alcohol (odds ratio, 4.4; 95% confidence interval, 1.1-17.5). Possible risk factors included young age, concurrent use of other analgesic agents (especially ibuprofen), preexisting renal disease, a history of kidney stones, a history of gout, a recent increase in activity, a recent increase in sun exposure, and residence in the Sunbelt. These were findings that were suggestive but did not reach conventional statistical significance. These findings are consistent with the postulated mechanism for this unusual syndrome: acute diffuse crystallization of uric acid in renal tubules.


Strom, BL., West, S., Sim, E., & Carson, JL. (1989). The epidemiology of the acute flank pain syndrome from suprofen. Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics, 46(6), 693-699. https://doi.org/10.1038/clpt.1989.206

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