The good news about gout is that it can be controlled. Medicines help in two ways: They reduce pain during an attack, and can reduce the uric acid buildup that causes the condition.
When uric acid builds up in your body, it can form crystals that irritate your joints.
Gout is a type of inflammatory arthritis. An attack may come after an illness or injury. The first sign is often pain in the big toe. It usually affects one joint at a time, but gout can spread to other joints and leave them looking red and swollen.
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The pain from a gout attack usually gets better in 3 to 10 days. But you’ll feel better faster if the gout is treated. If you think you might have it, contact your doctor. An exam and tests will show if it’s gout or something else, like an infection.
Talk with your doctor about the best medicines for you. The type will depend on how well your kidneys work, the possible side effects, and other health issues.
NSAIDs help reduce pain and swelling in the joints during a gout attack. Popular types are ibuprofen and naproxen. If you take NSAIDs in the first 24 hours, it can help shorten the attack. Other ways to reduce the pain are to ice, rest, and raise the joint.
Your doctor may recommend one of these medicines that you can't get over the counter:
- Allopurinol (Aloprim, Zyloprim) reduces uric acid production.
- Colchicine (Colcrys, Gloperba, Mitigare) reduces inflammation.
- Febuxostat (Uloric) reduces uric acid production.
- Indomethacin (Indocin, Tivorbex) is a stronger NSAID pain reliever.
- Lesinurad (Zurampic) helps your body get rid of uric acid when you pee.
- Pegloticase (Krystexxa) breaks down uric acid.
- Probenecid helps the kidneys excrete uric acid from your body.
- Steroids (also called corticosteroids) fight inflammation.
Along with medicine, your doctor may suggest other ways to prevent another attack:
- Exercise and eat a balanced diet to control your weight.
- Drink lots of water.
- Stay away from sugary drinks.
- Avoid excessive alcohol use, especially beer.
- Eat less meat, especially liver and sweetbreads, and seafood. Get your protein from foods like low-fat dairy. products like yogurt, cheese and milk.
These medicine and lifestyle changes can help you get through an attack and prevent other attacks.