Xanthine oxidase inhibitors such as allopurinol and febuxostat have been the mainstay urate-lowering therapy (ULT) for treating hyperuricaemia in patients with gout. However, not all patients receiving oral ULT achieve the target serum urate level, in part because some patients cannot tolerate, or have actual or misconceived contraindications to, their use, mainly due to comorbidities. ULT dosage is also limited by formularies and clinical inertia. This failure to sufficiently lower serum urate levels can lead to difficult-to-treat or uncontrolled gout, usually due to poorly managed and/or under-treated gout. In species other than humans, uricase (urate oxidase) converts urate to allantoin, which is more soluble in urine than uric acid. Exogenic uricases are an exciting therapeutic option for patients with gout. They can be viewed as enzyme replacement therapy. Uricases are being used to treat uncontrolled gout, and can achieve rapid reduction of hyperuricaemia, dramatic resolution of tophi, decreased chronic joint pain and improved quality of life. Availability, cost and uricase immunogenicity have limited their use. Uricases could become a leading choice in severe and difficult-to-treat gout as induction and/or debulking therapy (that is, for lowering of the urate pool) to be followed by chronic oral ULT. This Review summarizes the evidence regarding available uricases and those in the pipeline, their debulking effect and their outcomes related to gout and beyond.