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Rheumatoid Arthritis
Gout
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Gout Treatment

With proper treatment, most people with gout are able to control their symptoms and live productive lives. Gout can be treated with one or a combination of therapies.

The goals of treatment are to ease the pain associated with acute attacks, to prevent future attacks, and to avoid the formation of tophi and kidney stones. Successful treatment can reduce both the discomfort caused by the symptoms of gout and long-term damage of the affected joints. Treatment will help to prevent disability due to gout.

The most common treatments for an acute attack of gout are high doses of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) taken orally (by mouth) or corticosteroids, which are taken orally or injected into the affected joint. NSAIDs reduce the inflammation caused by deposits of uric acid crystals but have no effect on the amount of uric acid in the body. The NSAIDs most commonly prescribed for gout are indomethacin (Indocin*) and naproxen (Anaprox, Naprosyn), which are taken orally every day. Corticosteroids are strong anti-inflammatory hormones. The most commonly prescribed corticosteroid is prednisone. Patients often begin to improve within a few hours of treatment with a corticosteroid, and the attack usually goes away completely within a week or so.

When NSAIDs or corticosteroids do not control symptoms, the doctor may consider using colchicine. This drug is most effective when taken within the first 12 hours of an acute attack. Doctors may ask patients to take oral colchicine as often as every hour until joint symptoms begin to improve or side effects such as nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, or diarrhea make it uncomfortable to continue the drug.

For some patients, the doctor may prescribe either NSAIDs or oral colchicine in small daily doses to prevent future attacks. The doctor also may consider prescribing medicine such as allopurinol (Zyloprim) or probenecid (Benemid) to treat hyperuricemia and reduce the frequency of sudden attacks and the development of tophi.

What Can People With Gout Do To Stay Healthy?

  • To help prevent future attacks, take the medicines your doctor prescribes. Carefully follow instructions about how much medicine to take and when to take it. Acute gout is best treated when symptoms first occur.
  • Tell your doctor about all the medicines and vitamins you take. He or she can tell you if any of them increase your risk of hyperuricemia.
  • Plan followup visits with your doctor to evaluate your progress.
  • Maintain a healthy, balanced diet; avoid foods that are high in purines; and drink plenty of fluids, especially water. Fluids help remove uric acid from the body.
  • Exercise regularly and maintain a healthy body weight. Lose weight if you are overweight, but do not go on diets designed for quick or extreme loss of weight because they increase uric acid levels in the blood.

 

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