Gout is one of the most common types of inflammatory arthritis. There has been a considerable amount of research carried out into the causes and management of gout and how it effects the body and with this in mind there have been a wide range of different treatments tested and found to be effective for managing the condition. Below is a discussion of some of the most common gout treatments currently available.
Treatment for Acute Attacks
Treating acute attacks of gout as soon as they happen is perhaps the most important element of treating gout as it can be the most painful and difficult element of living with the condition. The two most common treatments for acute attacks of gout are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and Colchicine. Common NSAIDs include ibruprofen and diclofenac whilst colchicine isn’t a pain killer but is highly effective in bringing down the inflammation caused by the urate crystals that gout is characterised by. Colchicine tablets are supposed to be taken as soon as you recognise an attack and should not be taken alongside NSAIDs or without the direct guidance of your doctor. You may also choose to soothe a sore joint with an ice pack and resting the joint can also help.
Treatment for Long-Term Management
The treatment you have used to manage acute attacks of gout won’t get rid of the urate crystals in your joints or bring down the levels in your blood, meaning another attack is likely. Your doctor may recommend a urate-lowering drug if you are have frequent attacks, any sign of joint damage or have very high levels of uric acid in your blood.
Most people find that they still experience acute attacks of gout for a short period after beginning a course of urate lowering drugs and it can take as long as two years to get the crystals fully out of your system. Urate lowering drugs include allopurinol which has a very specific daily intake rate and if you don’t take it according to your doctor’s prescription it may not work at all. You may see your dosage increasing as your doctor finds the level which is effective for your condition. Another urate lowering drug is Febuxostat which brings down uric acid levels in your body and is usually selected for people who may have kidney problems as it breaks down and processes in the liver. There are other urate lowering drugs which your doctor may discuss with you dependent on your individual circumstances.
Treatment for Joint Damage
If your gout has led to long-term damage, particularly to the joints, then you will need to make changes to reduce the pain. There are self-management methods you can consider including losing weight and modifying your diet if you need to. You can also consider other techniques such as pacing your daily activities and wearing appropriate footwear, building strength and aerobic exercise into your routine to keep your joints as flexible as possible and pain relief such as NSAID tablets and creams, steroid injections in the most severe cases and even surgery as a last resort.
Make an appointment to discuss gout
If you have any questions about gout or would like to book an appointment with Dr Stephanie Barrett then please get in touch here.