Treatment and Research
Symptoms Can Be Controlled
With proper treatment, most people with gout are able to control their symptoms and live productive lives.
The goals for treatment are to ease the pain that comes from sudden attacks, prevent future attacks, stop uric acid buildup in the tissues and joint space between two bones, and prevent kidney stones from forming.
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The most common treatments for an attack of gout are high doses of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs, which are taken by mouth, or corticosteroids, which are taken by mouth or injected into the affected joint. Patients often begin to improve within a few hours of treatment. The attack usually goes away completely within a week or so.
Several NSAIDs are available over the counter. It is important to check with your doctor concerning the safety of using these drugs and to verify the proper dosage.
When NSAIDs or corticosteroids fail to control pain and swelling, the doctor may use another drug, colchicine. This drug is most effective when taken within the first 12 hours of an acute attack.
For patients who have repeated gout attacks, the doctor may prescribe medicine such as allupurinol, febuxostat, or probenecid to lower uric acid levels. In severe cases of gout that do not respond to other treatments, pegloticase, a medicine administered by intravenous infusion, may be prescribed to reduce levels of uric acid.
Scientists are studying which NSAIDs are the best ones to treat gout. They are analyzing new compounds to develop safe, effective medicines. Current research is also focusing on the structure of certain enzymes to gain a better understanding of defects that can cause gout.
Scientists are studying the effect of crystal deposits on cartilage cells for clues to treatment. They are also looking at the role of calcium deposits and how they contribute to the development of gout in the hope of finding new treatments.
In addition, researchers are investigating how genetics and the environment may influence the level of uric acid in the blood.