Gout - Medications
You use medicine to treat an attack of gout and to reduce the uric acid in the blood. Reducing uric acid helps reduce how often you have attacks.
Medicine treatment for gout usually involves some
combination of short- and long-term medicines.
Short-term medicine relieves pain and reduces inflammation during an acute attack or prevents a
recurrence of an acute attack. These medicines may include:
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen, indomethacin, or naproxen. Do not take aspirin, which should never be used to relieve pain
during a gout attack. Aspirin may change uric acid levels in the blood and may
make the attack worse.
- Corticosteroids, which may be given in
pills or as a shot for cases of gout that don't respond to NSAIDs or
If treatment is started right away, relief from symptoms often
occurs within 24 hours.
a gout attack, your doctor will prescribe a maximum daily dose of one or more
medicines used for short-term treatment to stop the attack. Doses are then
reduced as the symptoms go away.
Long-term treatment uses medicines to lower
uric acid levels in the blood. This can reduce how often you have gout attacks and how severe they are. These medicines may include:
- Uricosuric agents, to increase
elimination of uric acid by the kidneys.
- Xanthine oxidase inhibitors, to decrease production of uric acid by the
- Colchicine, to prevent flare-ups during the first
months that you are taking medicines that lower uric acid.
- Pegloticase (Krystexxa). This medicine is for gout that has lasted a long time and hasn't responded to other treatment.
If your doctor prescribes medicine to lower your uric
acid levels, be sure to take it as directed. Most people will continue to take this
medicine every day. It is also important to know how to take it.
- If you're taking one of these medicines, continue to take the medicine during the attack.
- If you have one of these medicines but have not been taking it, do not start taking the medicine during an
Starting these medicines while you are having a gout attack can make your
attack much worse.
What to think about
Long-term medicine treatment depends on how high your uric acid levels
are and how likely other gout attacks are. In general, the higher your uric acid
levels and the more often you have attacks, the more likely it is that long-term
medicine treatment will help.
Some people with gout have continuing problems because
they don't take their prescribed medicine. Most people will need treatment every day to keep the uric acid levels in their blood normal. But they may feel perfectly healthy most of the time and wonder why
they should keep taking their medicine. If you stop taking your prescribed
medicine, nothing may happen at first. But after a while, another gout attack is
likely to occur. Without treatment, future attacks are likely to be more severe
and occur more often.