Gout is an inflammatory condition that results in pain in the joints. This pain can worsen when flares occur. Treatment may involve medications that can relieve pain and reduce uric acid production.

Gout is a common form of inflammatory arthritis. Gout develops when high levels of uric acid deposit in the body’s tissues. Uric acid forms from the breakdown of purines, a substance found in different foods.

When there is a high level of uric acid in the body, uric acid crystals may accumulate in certain areas of the body. This may result in swelling, heat, pain, and tenderness in the affected areas. Certain medications may help with the short-term and long-term effects of gout.

Read on to learn more about the types of medication available to treat gout, as well as how to prevent gout flares.

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The purpose of using short-term medications is to manage acute flare-ups of gout, and they may include:

  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs): NSAIDs produce anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving effects. They primarily act by blocking a protein known as cyclooxygenase. NSAIDs, such as indomethacin, are most effective when used within 48 hours of the gout symptoms starting.
  • Colchicine: Colchicine has anti-inflammatory effects. Colchicine is effective when taken within 24 hours of a gout flare-up and also has approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for gout prevention.
  • Corticosteroids: Corticosteroids produce anti-inflammatory effects. Corticosteroids, such as prednisolone, may be as effective as NSAIDs in managing pain in acute flare-ups of gout.

Some individuals may experience frequent flare-ups of gout. Some medications are available to treat chronic gout long-term, including:

  • Allopurinol: Allopurinol is a xanthine oxidase inhibitor (XOI). It blocks the effects of xanthine oxidase, the protein that converts hypoxanthine to uric acid. In this way, it lowers the level of uric acid in the body.
  • Febuxostat: Febuxostat is also a type of XOI. It also helps reduce the level of uric acid in the body.
  • Probenecid: This drug blocks the transport of inorganic acid in the kidneys. In this way, probenecid blocks the reabsorption of uric acid in the body, leading to lower serum levels of uric acid.
  • Lesinurad: This drug selectively inhibits the reabsorption of uric acid, reducing the serum level of uric acid in the body. However, this drug may not be available in the United States due to business reasons.
  • Pegloticase: Unlike the other drugs, which a person receives orally, pegloticase is available as an intravenous (IV) infusion. This drug catalyzes the conversion of uric acid to allantoin. The kidneys excrete allantoin from the body, which can reduce chronic gout symptoms.

Circumstances that alter the uric acid concentration may trigger a flare-up. According to a 2017 primary care-based cross-sectional study, the most commonly self-reported gout triggers included:

  • alcohol
  • red meat and seafood
  • dehydration
  • injury or excess activity
  • excessively cold or warm weather

Additionally, risk factors for gout may include:

  • being male
  • having obesity
  • having diabetes
  • taking diuretics
  • regularly consuming foods high in sugar
  • having poor kidney function

There are things an individual can do to prevent gout flares. Certain dietary changes that may reduce the likelihood of a gout flare-up occurring include:

  • increasing dairy intake in males
  • increasing vitamin C intake
  • increasing water intake
  • increasing the intake of certain foods, such as cherries
  • decreasing the intake of purine-rich foods, such as red meat or organ meat
  • decreasing alcohol consumption

Certain lifestyle changes may also reduce the risk of gout flare-ups, including:

  • regular physical activity
  • maintaining a moderate weight
  • attending regular doctor appointments
  • protecting the joints

Read on to learn more about dietary changes and home remedies for gout.

A person should contact a doctor if they experience redness, heat, swelling, and pain in their joints, especially in the:

  • big toe
  • lesser toe joints
  • the ankles
  • the knees

Gout flares may be sudden and may last for days or even weeks. If a person is experiencing similar symptoms for a similar time frame, they should contact a doctor.

Gout is a common form of inflammatory arthritis. It occurs due to high levels of uric acid in the body. Uric acid crystals can accumulate in the joints, causing pain, swelling, heat, and redness.

Short-term medications to help treat gout include NSAIDs, colchicine, and corticosteroids. These medications can help manage the pain and inflammation of a gout flare-up. Long-term medications, such as allopurinol, febuxostat, probenecid, lesinurad, and pegloticase, can help lower uric acid levels and prevent future flare-ups.

Certain foods and activities can trigger gout flare-ups, which include alcohol, red meat, and excessively cold or warm weather.

There are things people can do to prevent gout flare-ups, including reducing their intake of purine-rich foods, maintaining a moderate weight, and getting regular exercise.