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Treatment and prevention of Gout “A patient’s gout will not get better until
they start taking uric-acid-lowering drugs. Patients need to know that their serum uric
acid level should be below the target of 6 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL). While gout
cannot be cured, it can be better managed, or even controlled completely, with the right
medications and lifestyle choices,” Edwards said.
In most cases, long-term medications for lowering uric acid will be used to treat gout and prevent
flares gout. “Generally, patients with gout will need to be on these drugs for life. If
they stay on them over time, their gout symptoms and risk of deformity or disability will be
greatly decreased,” Edwards added. The painful symptoms of gout can be alleviated
by nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which can reduce both pain and inflammation
around the joints, according to the University of Maryland. Depending on the severity of
the flare-ups, patients can be treated with over-the-counter NSAIDs such as ibuprofen
(Advil or Motrin), or naproxen (Aleve) or with prescription-strength painkillers such
as indomethacin (available under the trade name Indocin).
Corticosteroids, such as prednisone, can be injected directly into the affected joints
for relief within a few hours, according to Health4u. However, despite their effectiveness, corticosteroids
must be used sparingly, because they can weaken bones or poor wound healing.
Another pain reliever commonly used to reduce gout pain is colchicine. It is most effective
when taken within the first 12 hours of symptoms, according to NIAMS. Once the flare-up subsides,
the doctor may prescribe low, daily doses of colchicine to ward off future attacks.
Beyond medications, patients can also control the frequency of flare-ups through exercise
and diet adjustments. Because uric acid is created during the digestion and breakdown
of purines, patients can reduce the concentration of uric acid in the blood by avoiding high-purine
foods such as anchovies, asparagus, dried beans and peas, mushrooms and organ meats
(such as livers and kidneys). The Health4u also suggests that patients should drink more water
and less alcohol, because alcohol can raise the level of uric acid in the blood.