Gout Disease Treatment

Gout Disease Treatment: An Overview


Gout is a potentially debilitating form of arthritis that causes sudden, severe attacks of pain, swelling and tenderness in joints like the toes, feet, knees, elbows and wrists. The disease is caused by the precipitation of uric acid crystals in the joints, which results in painful inflammation. Though pain can sometimes be managed with at-home remedies during mild attacks, it often requires medical treatment. Here is an overview of treatment options for gout and how they work

Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)
NSAIDs are commonly the first line of Gout Disease Treatment for gout attacks. These over-the-counter and prescription medications work by blocking the production of prostaglandins that cause swelling and pain. Commonly used NSAIDs for gout include ibuprofen (Advil), naproxen (Aleve) and indomethacin. While fairly effective at reducing inflammation and pain during attacks, NSAIDs don’t lower uric acid levels and may cause side effects like stomach upset if taken long term.

Colchicine is a prescription medication that specifically targets gout flares. It works by inhibiting crystals from aggregating and causing further inflammation in joints. Colchicine reduces the length and severity of gout attacks if taken at the first signs of pain. Common side effects include digestive issues like diarrhea. Colchicine has drug interactions and should be used with caution under medical guidance.

For some patients with gout, corticosteroids may be prescribed for severe or treatment-resistant flare-ups. Corticosteroids like prednisone work to rapidly reduce inflammation. They are generally only used short-term due to potential side effects involving mood changes, weight gain and increased risk of infection with prolonged use.

Urate Lowering Therapies
While NSAIDs and other drugs temporarily manage gout symptoms, they do not lower elevated uric acid levels that cause attacks in the first place. To prevent future gout flares, patients need to undergo urate lowering therapy under a doctor’s guidance. The main types of daily oral medications to lower uric acid are:

– Allopurinol: A commonly prescribed xanthine oxidase inhibitor that blocks uric acid production. It works to gradually lower levels over time.

– Febuxostat: A newer alternative to allopurinol for individuals who cannot tolerate it. Also inhibits xanthine oxidase to decrease uric acid levels in the body.

– Probenecid: An uricosuric drug that increases uric acid excretion through urine, helping flush it out of the body faster.

It can take months of consistent treatment to reach target uric acid goals. Lifestyle changes also aid urate lowering therapies. Urate levels must stay below 6 mg/dL to prevent recurrences of gout attacks. Even after achieving this, maintenance treatment is usually lifelong.

Alternative Treatments
While not replacements for prescription medications, some alternative remedies may provide additional symptom relief when used alongside conventional therapies:

– Cherries and Cherry Extract: Contains anti-inflammatory compounds that may relieve pain and swelling. Aim for 1 cup of cherries or cherry juice extract per day.

– Boswellia: An herb that shows anti-arthritic properties. It inhibits enzymes involved in inflammatory processes.

– Turmeric: The active compound curcumin has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. May help reduce gout symptoms to a lesser degree.

– Dietary Changes: Avoidance of high purine foods like red meat, organ meats, fish and shellfish limits uric acid buildup. Staying well hydrated also assists flushing of urates from the body.

Surgery for Gout
For a small percentage of advanced cases, surgery may be considered if gout attacks persist despite optimal medical management. Surgery involves removal of urate crystal deposits, also known as tophi, that have built up around joints over time. While effective in reliving joint destruction from tophi, surgery alone will not keep gout from recurring without long-term urate lowering medication use as well.

With proper treatment of underlying uric acid levels and acute flare management, gout can usually be controlled. This involves a combination of prescription drugs, lifestyle modification and occasionally alternative adjunct therapies. Consultation with a rheumatologist or primary care physician is important for accurate diagnosis and developing an effective personalized treatment regimen. Ongoing compliance with prescribed therapies, both medications and dietary/lifestyle changes, is necessary to keep gout in remission long-term.

1. Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research
2. We have leveraged AI tools to mine information and compile it