Patients will often ask their doctor to prescribe medications whenever they are diagnosed with a certain condition. However, those diagnosed with gout may be very disappointed to learn that there is no cure that will completely get rid of the problem. Instead, you may receive medications that will treat acute attacks, prevent future attacks, and also reduce the risk of complications that may arise due to gout.
In other words, gout is often a long-term condition. Moreover, the worrying aspect of this is that younger patients are being diagnosed with this disease than ever before. A large number of young people are diagnosed with this condition mainly because of their unhealthy lifestyle and diet.
Above all, you might have to adopt various lifestyle changes for the medications to work. Otherwise, the symptoms might become progressively worse. And if you do not get your gout treated on time, it will eventually progress to the point that you become immobile and may even result in you developing kidney or liver diseases.
Medications Used to Treat Gout
Gout usually presents itself with pain within the joints, mostly in the big toe. The pain can sometimes be so severe, it becomes debilitating. This is why the moment you start experiencing pain in your joints, consult your doctor right away for a speedy diagnosis and effective treatment. On confirmation, your doctor may suggest a change to your lifestyle, along with a healthier dietary plan--one that enables your body to get the required vitamins and minerals. In addition, your doctor may even prescribe certain medications to help you manage your condition better.
1) Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
These are medications that reduce joint inflammation while at the same time acts as a pain reliever. They could be over-the-counter drugs like ibuprofen, but the doctor may prescribe you more powerful options for severe attacks, like indomethacin and celecoxib. It is not advisable to use these drugs for a long period of time because they can result in complications like ulcers and stomach pain.
Some drugs can cause allergic reactions. If you are aware of your drug allergies, then you need to inform your doctor. In cases wherein you have ingested drugs you are allergic to, you may experience mild to severe allergic reactions, which can range from vomiting, skin rashes, and facial swelling.
It is important that you inform your doctor right away if you notice signs of allergic reactions. The doctor would then prescribe a better alternative. Additionally, the doctor may run a full panel allergy test, which is used to determine all the allergens based on your body’s reaction. The test can also help determine all the other medications that you are sensitive to.
Frequent usage of OTC painkillers will cause your body to develop an enhanced tolerance, resulting in these drugs losing their effectiveness in controlling pain. So make sure that your doctor is aware of what painkillers you are taking for the pain, their dosages, and duration, as they will have a bearing on the treatment therapy for gout.
These are steroids that help reduce inflammation and pain, just like the NSAIDs. A good example of a corticosteroid is prednisone, which can be taken in pill or injection form. Such drugs are quite effective in reducing inflammation, but since they are steroids, your body may start reacting adversely to them. It is vital that you inform your doctor regarding any adverse reactions that you have developed upon taking steroids, so that he can prescribe a better alternative.
This medication is very effective in relieving gout symptoms, but it has several downsides such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. It may still be prescribed for severe gout attacks, but the dosage should be lowered thereafter or replaced by a different drug.
Medications Used to Prevent Gout Flares
If gout attacks are becoming more frequent, it is necessary to reduce the levels of uric acid in the affected individual. Constant attacks of gout and increased amounts of uric acid crystal deposits can lead to other complications and even cause further damage to the joints.
Your doctor may prescribe certain medications designed to lower the level of uric acid in your body and thereby prevent any additional inflammation of the joints. You need to be upfront with your doctor regarding all the medications that you have taken to date, as it will have a bearing on your treatment.
Medications that block the production of uric acid
Xanthine oxidase inhibitors are drugs that reduce the amount of uric acid produced from digestion, thereby reducing the risk of developing gout. Examples include allopurinol (Zyloprim and Lopurin) and Febuxostat (Uloric). With these drugs, you should be able to limit and inhibit the production of uric acid in your body, resulting in less crystallization in the joints and debilitating pain.
Medications that improve the removal of uric acid
Medications, like probenecid, increases your kidney’s ability to remove the uric acid from the body and to excrete it through the urine faster. This drug is quite effective in managing an overproduction of uric acid in your body as it enables your body to secrete the same through waste products effectively. You need to keep yourself hydrated at all times and make sure that you are getting the right dosage of this drug. By drinking the recommended amount of water while taking this drug, you should be able to effectively flush out all the excess uric acid from your body.
Lifestyle Changes to Manage Gout
1) Avoid purine-rich foods
Red meat, seafood, and offal contain high levels of purine, which is responsible for the creation of uric acid. By reducing the intake of these foods, future gout attacks may be avoided. Try opting for healthier alternatives by eating more vegetables, greens, and whole grains. Eating these foods should enable you to stay healthy with a lesser risk of gout. You can either avoid purine-loaded foods altogether or opt to minimize your intake of such foods.
2) Limit alcohol consumption
It is advisable for those with gout to stay away from beer and spirits as they can promote the development of gout. Alcohol inhibits the effective functioning of your liver and will cause your liver to shut down as well, in case of excessive alcohol consumption. Moreover, drinking alcohol increases the toxicity in your blood and causes you to become dehydrated, which leads to an overproduction of uric acid. Being dehydrated will cause more inflammation in your joints, causing you to experience more debilitating gout pain.
3) Avoid sugar
Sugary drinks like sodas and fruit juices with high levels of sugar can also contribute to gout and should be avoided. As mentioned earlier, it is always a good idea to opt for freshly squeezed juices since the sugar contained in the fruits are the natural variant and can be easily digested by the body.
4) Stay hydrated
By drinking enough water daily, you can keep the uric acid crystals from forming in your joints and avoiding the symptoms associated with gout. So make sure that you drink more water on a daily basis to effectively get all the excess uric acid to be flushed out of your system. It is important that you check in with your doctor periodically so that he can monitor your condition and corresponding treatment.
5) Exercise and watch your diet
Regular exercise and maintaining a proper diet will also help alleviate the symptoms of gout in the future. You can opt for any form of exercise, whether it is something as simple as knee bending or even jogging. The point is that by being fit, you can reduce your risk of developing gout. Make sure that you adopt a healthy diet plan, one that can provide your body with all the essential nutrients to help prevent joint inflammation.
You can try out eating more vegetables and even a few of the superfoods on a regular basis. You can try consuming chia seeds, as they are loaded with antioxidants with anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce the debilitating pain caused by gout.