Gout Treatment and Prevention | Everyday Health
Treatment for gout aims to reduce pain and inflammation as quickly and safely as possible.
A number of different drugs can be used to treat or help prevent gout flare-ups.
There are several treatment options for gout. Your doctor will help you find the regimen that’s right for you.
If you have a history of gout, it’s important to keep the right medication on hand in case of a flare-up.
Prompt treatment will help reduce the pain and the severity of the attack. It will also help to prevent damage to your joints. (1)
Gout Medication and Treatment
A number of drugs can be used to treat flare-ups, or attacks, of gout.
Many of these medicines are anti-inflammatory, which means that they help reduce painful swelling and inflammation caused by a gout flare.
Common anti-inflammatory medicines for gout include:
Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)
You’ll need a prescription for some NSAIDs, while others are available over the counter.
Your doctor may recommend this medicine if NSAIDs aren’t a good option for you. (NSAIDs may not be recommended for people with a history of kidney or liver disease, stomach ulcers, or bleeding problems and cardiovascular disease.) (2)
Colchicine can be used to treat gout attacks, or it can be taken on a daily basis to reduce the frequency of attacks. Side effects of the drug include diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal cramps.
These drugs can be taken orally or injected directly into the joint.
Gout Medications to Reduce Uric Acid Levels
An alternative to the medications above, these are taken daily and used long-term to help prevent flares. Your doctor may recommend long-term therapy with one of these drugs if you’re having recurrent gout attacks.
Some uric acid–lowering medicines for gout include:
- Probalan (probenecid)
- Cozaar (losartan)
- Aloprim or Zyloprim (allopurinol)
- Uloric (febuxostat)
- Zurampic (lesinurad)
- Krystexxa (pegloticase)
How to Prevent Gout and Future Gout Symptoms
After your gout flare has subsided, your doctor may recommend that you continue long-term therapy with a uric-acid lowering medicine or colchicine to prevent future gout attacks.
Home Remedies for Gout Management
Medication is the most effective way to treat gout symptoms, but there are a number of steps you can take at home to reduce your risk of future attacks.
Actions that may help prevent gout include:
Limiting alcoholic beverages and sugar-sweetened drinks These beverages, when consumed in excess, raise your risk of a gout flare-up.
Losing weight may help lower your uric acid levels and reduce your risk of future gout attacks.
How much weight should you lose? In October 2017, a review of studies published online in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases (4) suggested that a weight loss of about eight pounds or more led to long-term reductions in uric acid levels and gout attacks in overweight or obese people.
Avoiding foods that trigger gout attacks Red meat, organ meats, and certain types of seafood contain high levels of a substance called purine, which may trigger gout attacks in some people.
Supplementing with vitamin C There’s some evidence that vitamin C can help lower uric acid levels, but it’s not clear whether vitamin C can also help relieve gout symptoms. (3)
A small study published in the journal Arthritis and Rheumatism (5) showed that supplementing with 500 milligrams (mg) of vitamin C for eight weeks did not significantly lower uric acid levels in patients with gout.
If you do decide to supplement with vitamin C, the physician website UpToDate (3) recommends taking no more than 500 mg of vitamin C daily.
Drinking coffee A large study (6) published in 2007 suggested that men who drink four to five cups of coffee a day may have a lower risk of developing gout than men who don’t.
Subsequent studies, however, suggest that drinking coffee (even several cups a day) does little to lower uric acid levels in people with chronic or recurrent gout. (3)
Other dietary supplements Some researchers have looked at supplementing with cherries, dietary fiber, or folate to help prevent gout attacks, though study findings are inconclusive at this time. (3)
Complementary and Alternative Medicines for Gout
Nearly a quarter of people with gout reported using some kind of complementary or alternative medicine in one study of 276 gout sufferers in New Zealand. That includes things like dietary or herbal supplements, vitamins, acupuncture, and massage therapy.
According to the study, published in 2014 in the Journal of Clinical Rheumatology, (7) gout sufferers who used complementary and alternative therapies reported just as many gout flares after one year as patients who didn’t use complementary or alternative medicine.