Important Information About Gout Medication
If you are taking medication to lower uric acid, you need to take it every day, whether you are having an attack or not.
Treatment is important to reduce gout attacks and avoid permanent joint damage. However, as all medicines have side effects, discuss medication choices with your doctor by asking:
- what are the benefits of gout medication?
- what are the risks of this medication?
- what are the side effects?
Always let your doctor or pharmacist know what medicines you are taking to avoid interactions. It is also a good idea to discuss if you want to stop or change the dose of your medications.
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What To Do During An Attack
- take any medication you’ve been prescribed as early as possible after you notice an attack this should start to have an effect within two or three days
- rest and raise the limb
- avoid knocking or damaging the affected joint
- keep the joint cool remove surrounding clothing and apply an ice pack, such as a bag of frozen peas wrapped in a towel
- ensure you’re well hydrated
Apply the ice pack to your joint for around 20 minutes. Don’t apply ice directly to your skin and don’t apply it for more than 20 minutes at a time because this could damage the skin.
If necessary, you can keep reapplying an ice pack to your skin during an attack, but you should wait until your skin has returned to a normal temperature first.
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Managing A Gout Flare
Gout flares are unexpected and painful heres how to get a handle on them.
Few things in life are more painful than a gout flare, so if youre awakened in the wee hours by a joint that is tender, swollen, red and radiating heat, youll want to act fast. Heres what you can do when a gout flare starts to ease the pain and reduce the risk of others.
Take Medicine You Have on Hand. Start treatment immediately with over-the-counter ibuprofen or naproxen , but never take aspirin, which can worsen a flare. If you have had a flare before and your doctor has prescribed an anti-inflammatory medication to take in the event of another, take your prescribed medication as your doctor directed. If you are already taking a uric acid-lowering drug to reduce the risk of flares, continue to take that drug.
Ice Down. Applying an ice pack to the painful joint may help ease pain and inflammation. Wrap a pack in a dish cloth and apply to the area for 20- to 30-minutes at a stretch several times a day.
Let your doctor know what is going on right away. She may prescribe a new medication, or have you come to the office for a joint fluid test or an injection of a corticosteroid to start relieving inflammation quickly. Getting treatment within the first 24 hours of the start of a flare can lessen its length and severity.
Get a Cane. Walking with a cane during an acute gou flare can help keep pressure off your painful joint.
Other Ways To Treat Gout
Medicine is considered the most effective treatment method for gout, but there are lifestyle changes you can make to manage your symptoms during a gout attack, or help prevent gout attacks from happening. Learn more about other ways to manage symptoms of gout during an attack here. Learn more about preventing future gout attacks here.
Educational content made possible by Horizon Therapeutics.
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When Is Surgery Considered For Gout
The question of surgery for gout most commonly comes up when a patient has a large clump of urate crystals , which is causing problems. This may be if the tophus is on the bottom of the foot, and the person has difficulty walking on it, or on the side of the foot making it hard to wear shoes. An especially difficult problem is when the urate crystals inside the tophus break out to the skin surface. This then can allow bacteria a point of entry, which can lead to infection, which could even track back to the bone. Whenever possible, however, we try to avoid surgery to remove tophi. The problem is that the crystals are often extensive, and track back to the bone, so there is not a good healing surface once the tophus is removed. In some rare cases, such as when a tophus is infected or when its location is causing major disability, surgical removal may be considered.
Since it is hard to heal the skin after a tophus is removed, a skin graft may be needed. For this reason, we often try hard to manage the tophus medically. If we give high doses of medication to lower the urate level, such as allopurinol, over time the tophus will gradually reabsorb. In severe cases, we may consider using the intravenous medication pegloticase , since it lowers the urate level the most dramatically, and can lead to the fastest shrinkage of the tophus.
Risk Factors For Gout
Gout is more likely to occur in:
- Men. Men have a seven to nine times higher risk of gout than women, although the risk increases for women after menopause
- People with a diet high in purine-rich foods such as red meat, organ meats , seafood . Processed foods , refined carbohydrates and beverages high in fructose or sucrose also contribute to gout
- Certain ethnicities
- People who overindulge in alcohol, particularly beer and spirits
- People with certain medical conditions , and with some medications or treatments .
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Hot And Cold Compresses
Switching between a hot compress for three minutes and a cold compress for 30 seconds on the affected area can help reduce pain and swelling that occurs during a gout attack.
In most people, a first acute gout attack comes without warning, and there arent any other symptoms of high uric acid. Prevention efforts for gout are focused on preventing future attacks or lessening their severity.
Whats The Best Way To Take Lab
Your body doesnt typically excrete enough uric acid on its own to minimize the risk of a gout attack. Lab-grade Chanca Piedra is that extra added push for your body to be able to not only flush out uric acid in the kidney and liver, but to also inhibit the formation of uric acid crystals. Chanca Piedra has also been shown to help with inflammation.
To dissolve uric acid crystals or to prevent them from forming altogether:
Keep in mind that each individual is unique and will respond differently to each treatment type. Always discuss any new treatments that you are considering with your physician prior to starting them so he/she can review with you any potential medication interactions and potential side effect concerns.
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Medicines For Gout Attacks
The main goal of treatment during a gout attack is to decrease pain and swelling. Some medicines are safe for people with kidney disease, and some are not. Talk to your doctor about which medicines make the most sense for you to try.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
NSAIDs are medicines that decrease pain and swelling. Some NSAIDs are available over-the-counter, like ibuprofen and naproxen sodium. Stronger NSAIDs like indomethacin and celecoxib must be prescribed by a doctor. Taking NSAIDs can lead to kidney disease over time or make kidney disease worse. NSAIDs may not be recommended when you have kidney disease even for the treatment of gout attacks.
Colchine is a medicine that can relieve pain. Your doctor may recommend taking colchine during a gout attack, or low doses of colchine every day if you have chronic gout. Colchine may not be recommended for people with kidney disease. Talk to your doctor about whether colchine is right for you.
Corticosteroids, also known as steroids
Steroids are strong medicines used to decrease swelling and pain. Steroids are usually only given for gout if you cannot take NSAIDS or colchine. Steroids can be in the form of a pill or given as an injection. Talk to your doctor about whether steroids are safe for you.
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The Four Stages Of Gout
Gout is best understood by seeing it as having four phases or stages :
Stage 1: High uric acid
Elevated uric acid without gout or kidney stone, this stage has no symptoms and is generally not treated.
Stage 2: Acute flares
This stage is marked by acute gout attacks causing pain and inflammation in one or more joints.
Stage 3: Intercritical periods
These are periods of time between acute attacks, during which a person feels normal but is at risk for recurrence of acute attacks.
Stage 4: Advanced gout
This is a stage of chronic gouty arthritis, in which there are lumps of uric acid, or tophi , frequent attacks of acute gout, and often a degree of pain even between attacks .
Figure 1: Stages of Gout
Figure 2: Illustration of Toe Joint with Gouty Tophus. normal toe joint Urate crystals, shown in white, at the “bunion joint,” represent a gouty tophus.)
Figure 3: Progression of Gout
What Is The Fastest Way To Get Rid Of Gout
Medications for acute gout attack: These medications are usually prescribed to treat an acute attack of gout:
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs : These can quickly relieve the pain and swelling of an acute gout episode. They can shorten the attack, especially if taken in the first 24 hours.
- Corticosteroids: These drugs can be taken by mouth or injected into an inflamed joint to quickly relieve the pain and swelling of an acute attack. Corticosteroids usually start working within 24 hours after they are taken.
- Colchicine: An anti-inflammatory medicine that works best if taken within the first 24 hours of a gout attack.
Medications for reducing uric acid levels: These are usually prescribed after an acute attack ends to reduce uric acid levels in the body to prevent future attacks.
- Colchicine: Regular and low doses of colchicine may be given along with other medications below to prevent flare-ups.
- Allopurinol: It reduces uric acid production in the body.
- : It reduces uric acid production in the body.
- Probenecid: It acts on the kidneys to help eliminate uric acid.
- Pegloticase: This is a medication that is injected every 2 weeks. It reduces uric acid quickly and used when other medications fail.
Lifestyle and home remedies to treat acute gout and can prevent recurrent attacks:
- Limiting or avoiding alcohol consumption and drinks sweetened with fructose
- Limiting intake of foods high in purines, such as red meat, organ meats, and seafood
- Drinking plenty of fluids
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What Is Best For Your Gout
You can see that it is time to stop looking for a ‘best’ solution to your gout concerns. Instead, you should start keeping records of your gout concerns. Together with your personal gout profile. That way, you have adequate information to start meaningful consultations with your health advisers.
Of course, if you want help to prepare for those consultations, you can discuss your thoughts with other gout sufferers. But if you want me to clarify any aspect of this article, please add your comments to GoutPal Issues.
What Foods Should You Avoid
If youre susceptible to sudden gout attacks, avoid the main culprits high-purine foods.
These are foods that contain more than 200 mg of purines per 3.5 ounces .
You should also avoid high-fructose foods, as well as moderately-high-purine foods, which contain 150200 mg of purines per 3.5 ounces. These may trigger a gout attack.
Here are a few major high-purine foods, moderately-high-purine foods and high-fructose foods to avoid (
- meats: These include liver, kidneys, sweetbreads and brain
- meats: Examples include pheasant, veal and venison
- Fish: Herring, trout, mackerel, tuna, sardines, anchovies, haddock and more
- seafood: Scallops, crab, shrimp and roe
- Sugary beverages: Especially fruit juices and sugary sodas
- Added sugars: Honey, agave nectar and high-fructose corn syrup
- Yeasts: Nutritional yeast, brewers yeast and other yeast supplements
Additionally, refined carbs like white bread, cakes and cookies should be avoided. Although they are not high in purines or fructose, they are low in nutrients and may raise your uric acid levels (
Summary: If you have gout, you should avoid foods like organ meats, game meats, fish and seafood, sugary beverages, refined carbs, added sugars and yeast.
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Lowering Uric Acid Levels
Standard urate-lowering medicines are:
- Allopurinol This is an oral prescription that helps lower serum uric acid levels. This medicine is also known by brand names Lopurin® and Zyloprim®. When started on this drug, your doctor will likely gradually increase the dosage to a standard prescription dose.
- This is another urate-lowering therapy that can be prescribed under the brand name Uloric®. This medication is taken orally and decreases the bodys production of uric acid. It can be taken by people with mild to moderate kidney or liver disease.
Some general potential side effects of allopurinol are: changes in taste, diarrhea, indigestion and stomach pain or cramps. For febuxostat, some minor side effects are: changes in appetite, constipation or diarrhea, nausea, hot flush to face or skin, stomach upset or pain. Its important that if they persist or there are questions, call a doctor.
Though only 1 in 1,000 patient cases, there is a more severe hypersensitivity reaction to allopurinol, with fever or rash that can cover the body and deterioration of liver and kidney function. At-risk patient populations can be screened for a genetic marker that can predict this reaction. To alleviate this hypersensitivity, doctors will start a patient on a low dose with a step-up plan to the optimal medication dose.
Medications For Acute Gout
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How Does A Doctor Diagnose Gout
If you have sudden or severe pain in a joint, you should talk to your primary care provider . Your PCP may send you to a rheumatologist, a doctor who specializes in gout and other kinds of arthritis.
Healthcare providers consider several things when confirming gout:
- Symptoms: The provider will ask you to describe your symptoms, how often they happen and how long they last.
- Physical examination: Your provider will examine the affected joint to look for swelling, redness and warmth.
- Blood work: A test can measure the amount of uric acid in your blood.
- Imaging tests: You may have pictures taken of the affected joint with X-rays, an ultrasound or MRI.
- Aspiration: The provider may use a needle to pull fluid from the joint. Using a microscope, a team member can look for uric acid crystals or a different problem .