What are the Most Effective Treatments for Gout?

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Gout is a condition caused by a build up of uric acid that creates urate crystals. These can form around a joint and cause intense pain. There are fortunately treatments for gout, which can help resolve the condition. The best treatment may be different for each person and some people who get frequent attacks may need treatment at all times. Those who get gout are also often advised to eat a diet lower in chemicals called purines, which may increase uric acid levels and lead to more attacks.

Full fat dairy products can exacerbate gout.
Full fat dairy products can exacerbate gout.

When a gout attack first occurs, emphasis is on reducing painful joint swelling. One of the standard types of medicines given for this is non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen or naproxen sodium. A few other NSAIDs that are available by prescription might be required instead. Some people can’t take NSAIDs as treatments for gout and they might instead use corticosteroids like prednisone to get swelling down. Another medication called colchicine could be recommended but it may not be one of the preferred treatments of gout because it has a high side effect profile.

Many types of meat, especially those high in fat can contribute to gout.
Many types of meat, especially those high in fat can contribute to gout.

There are many people who talk about the gout diet as one of the better treatments for gout, and this means lowering intake of foods that contain purines. People would be asked not to drink alcohol, to avoid red meats, organ meats and seafood. Low fat dairy and whole grains are recommended instead. While there is suggestion that not drinking alcohol may help prevent gout or help end an attack, there really hasn’t been undeniable proof that a gout diet works. On the other hand, if changing diet slightly helps end an attack sooner, it’s certainly not risky treatment and may be good for people.

Sometimes treatments for gout are needed on a constant basis because attacks keep recurring. In this case, doctors might indeed recommend the gout diet, but also taking some medications that may help break down uric acid. These medications include probenecid, which stimulates the kidneys to get rid of more uric acid, and allopurinol, which helps the body limit its uric acid production. All people do not need such treatments for gout. Some people have one attack and then never have another.

There are some alternative treatments for gout, but these haven’t been proven. There may be small evidence that drinking coffee reduces uric acid. Other suggestions include taking vitamin C or eating fruits rich in the vitamin. Again, these treatments are not likely to hurt or harm the person, and can be safely tried. If they work, that may be all the proof that is needed.

Prednisone tablets are most commonly used for their anti-inflammatory properties.
Prednisone tablets are most commonly used for their anti-inflammatory properties.
Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Tricia has a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and has been a frequent wiseGEEK contributor for many years. She is especially passionate about reading and writing, although her other interests include medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion. Tricia lives in Northern California and is currently working on her first novel.

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Discussion Comments

anon76109

Most gout sufferers can prevent gout flairs by diet and exercise. Drink lots of water. Avoid beer. Wine in moderation is O.K. Keep your weight down, it is the no. 1 correlation to gout flares. Avoid large servings of red meat and seafood. Coffee is beneficial. And if you can, reduce stress. This information is from a study by Dr. Chang at Harvard, and it works for me.

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