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To determine whether febuxostat with stepwise dose increase is as useful as colchicine prophylaxis in reducing gout flares during the initial introduction of urate-lowering therapy in patients with gout in comparison with febuxostat with no dose titration.In this prospective, multicentre, randomised open-label comparative study, patients were randomised to group A (stepwise dose increase of febuxostat from 10 to 40 mg/day), group B (fixed-dose febuxostat 40 mg/day plus colchicine 0.5 mg/day) or group C (fixed-dose febuxostat 40 mg/day) and observed for 12 weeks. Gout flare was defined as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug use for gout symptoms.A total of 255 patients were randomised, and 241 patients were treated. Among the treated patients, gout flares were experienced by 20/96 (20.8%) in group A, 18/95 (18.9%) in group B and 18/50 (36.0%) in group C. The incidence of flare was significantly lower in groups A and B than that in group C (P=0.047 and P=0.024, respectively), although the differences were not significant after correction for multiple comparisons. No significant difference was noted between the incidence of gout flare in groups A and B.Our data suggested that stepwise dose increase of febuxostat and low-dose colchicine prophylaxis effectively reduced gout flares in comparison with fixed-dose febuxostat alone. Stepwise dose increase of febuxostat may be an effective alternative to low-dose colchicine prophylaxis during the introduction of urate-lowering therapy.UMIN 000008414.