The information provided here is meant to give you a general idea about each of the medications listed below. Only the most general side effects are included. Ask your doctor if you need to take any special precautions. Use each of these medications only as recommended by your doctor, and according to the instructions provided. If you have further questions about usage or side effects, contact your doctor.
Medications can be used to treat the symptoms of acute attacks and help prevent future recurrent attacks.
In general medications for acute treatment will reduce inflammation and pain. Medications include colchicine, corticosteroids, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.Allopurinol may also be used during a severe acute episode to reduce uric acid production.
Some medications for prevention may treat chronic inflammation, but most of them are given to reduce uric acid. They will be considered if you have 2 or more attacks per year,
skin lesions (tophi or subcutaneous nodules), a uric acid kidney stone, or
reduced kidney function.Medications include colchicine, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, xanthine oxidase inhibitors, uricosuric medications, and pegloticase.
The choice and duration of medication will depend on many things, including your age, severity of disease and the number of joints affected, previous responses to treatment, overall health, and ability to tolerate the medication.
Medications for acute attacks work best if taken within 24 hours of symptom onset. They may only be needed for a short time. Preventive medications will have to be taken on a regular basis.
Xanthine Oxidase Inhibitors AllopurinolFebuxostat
Uricosuric medications ProbenecidSulfinpyrazoneBenzbromarone
Prescription or Over-the-Counter Medications Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs
Ibuprofen—over-the-counter (OTC) or prescriptionIndomethacin—prescription onlyNaproxen—OTC or prescriptionDiclofenac—prescription only
is given during a gout attack to relieve the pain, swelling, and inflammation. It works by decreasing the acidity of joint tissue and preventing deposits of uric acid crystals in joints. This medication may also be taken in smaller doses to help prevent recurrent gout attacks when people are started on urate-lowering medications.
Possible side effects include: DiarrheaNauseaVomitingAbdominal painMuscle pain
Consult your doctor before taking colchicine if you have liver or kidney disease.
Common names include: PrednisonePrednisoloneBetametasone (for joint injection)Triamcinalone (for joint injection)Methylprednisolone (given IV, usually for severe cases)
Corticosteroids can control the pain, swelling, and inflammation of joints caused by gout. The medication can be given as a tablet or in liquid form or by injection into a joint—or in severe cases, as an IV. If taken orally, corticosteroids are best taken at the same time(s) each day and should be taken with liquid or food to lessen stomach upset.
Possible side effects include: Indigestion, nausea, or vomitingThrush
DiarrheaHeadachePsychiatric disturbancesWeight gain
Long term use may cause:
DiabetesThinning of the skinWeak, fragile bonesHigh blood pressure
Common names include: AllopurinolFebuxostat
Xanthine oxidase inhibitors are sometimes given to people who suffer repeated gout attacks. This medication slows the development of uric acid by inhibiting the activity of certain enzymes. It's given in tablet form and should be taken at the same time(s) each day. Allopurinol should be taken with food or liquid to help avoid stomach upset. Febuxostat may be given if you cannot tolerate allopurinol or have kidney disease.
Possible side effects include: RashNauseaLiver problemsJoint pain (febuxostat)
Common names include: ProbenecidSulfinpyrazoneBenzbromarone
These medications are sometimes given to those who suffer repeated gout attacks (especially when tophi deposits develop). This medication forces the kidneys to excrete additional uric acid. It's given in tablet form and should be taken at the same time each day with food or liquid to help avoid stomach upset. People with uric acid
or with certain blood disorders should not take these medications.
Possible side effects include: HeadacheAppetite lossNauseaVomitingKidney stonesLightheadedness (sulfinpyrazone)
Severe rash from allergic reactionRinging or buzzing in the ear—tinnitus
Flare-up of peptic ulcer (sulfinpyrazone)
Pegloticase has been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat adults who have severe gout that has not been relieved by other treatments. This medication is an enzyme that works by turning uric acid into a chemical that does not cause gout symptoms. This chemical leaves the body through the urine. Pegloticase is given by injection every 2 weeks.
Since severe allergic reactions are common with this medication, a corticosteroid and an antihistamine are given before the injection of pegloticase. Other possible side effects include: Flare-up of goutNausea and vomitingConstipationBruise at the injection siteNasal irritationChest painRunny nose
Common names include: Ibuprofen—OTC or prescriptionIndomethacin—prescription onlyNaproxen—OTC or prescriptionDiclofenac—prescription only
NSAIDs are given to treat the pain, inflammation, and swelling caused by gout attacks.
can be purchased over the counter or your doctor may prescribe a higher dosage. They work by decreasing prostaglandins, hormones that produce inflammation and pain. The medication may also be taken in smaller doses to help prevent attacks in those with recurrent gout attacks who are started on urate-lowering medications. NSAIDs are given by mouth. They should be taken at the same time (or times) each day and should be taken with food or liquid to help avoid stomach upset.
Possible side effects include:
Stomach problems, such as stomach upset,
ulcers, and bleeding
Worsening of chronic conditions, such as high blood pressure,
heart failure, or kidney disease
Severe allergic reaction, such as
hives, difficulty breathing, or swelling around the eyes
Increased risk of bleeding—always inform your doctor that you are taking an NSAID before having any medical or dental procedures or surgeries
NSAIDs may cause an increased risk of serious cardiovascular problems, like
stroke. This risk is especially important for those with cardiovascular disease or who are have risk factors for cardiovascular disease.
If you are taking medications, follow these general guidelines: Take the medication as directed. Do not change the amount or the schedule.Ask what side effects could occur. Report them to your doctor.Talk to your doctor before you stop taking any prescription medication.Do not share your prescription medication.Medications can be dangerous when mixed. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking more than one medication, including over-the-counter products and supplements.Plan ahead for refills as needed.
Colchicine. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at:
http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T233251/Colchicine. Updated February 6, 2017. Accessed February 24, 2017.
Gout. American College of Rheumatology website. Available at:
http://www.rheumatology.org/I-Am-A/Patient-Caregiver/Diseases-Conditions/Gout. Updated April 2015. Accessed February 24, 2017.
Gout treatment. Arthritis Foundation website. Available at:
http://www.arthritis.org/about-arthritis/types/gout/treatment.php. Accessed February 24, 2017.
Pegloticase. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at:
http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T900694/Pegloticase. Updated February 6, 2017. Accessed February 24, 2017.
Last reviewed February 2017 by Michael Woods, MD, FAAP
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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