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. Be safe with medicines. Read and follow all instructions on the label.
- Corticosteroids, which may be given in pills or as a shot for cases of gout that don't respond to NSAIDs or colchicines.
If treatment is started right away, relief from symptoms often occurs within 24 hours.
During 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 body.
- 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 attack. Starting these medicines while you are having a gout attack can make your attack much worse.