What Medicines Should You Take for Gout?
Gout, one of the most painful forms of arthritis, occurs when uric acid builds up in the body. According to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, this buildup can lead to sharp uric acid crystal deposits in joints, often in the big toe; deposits of uric acid (called tophi) that look like lumps under the skin; and kidney stones from uric acid crystals in the kidneys.
The first attack frequently occurs in the big toe, though insteps, ankles, heels, knees, wrists, fingers and elbows can also be affected. In its most serious form,
According to the experts from SeniorHealth, a division of the National Institutes of Health, needle-like crystals of uric acid build up in connective tissue, in the joint space between two bones, or in both. Uric acid is a substance that results from the breakdown of purines, which are part of all human tissue and are found in many foods, the experts say. Normally, uric acid is dissolved in the blood and passed through the kidneys into the urine, where it is eliminated.
Those most at risk are men between the ages of 40 and 50. Women are less likely to develop the condition; if they do so, it is most frequently after menstruation ends. In its most serious form, gout can permanently damage the affected joints and even the kidneys.
Treatments for gout include corticosteroids, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), amd medicines that block uric acid production or improve removal or uric acid. Those medicines, however, can have serious side effects such as kidney stones and reduced liver function.
Complicating the issue of medication is that there are some drugs, used to combat other diseases, that can put you at risk for developing gout, the SeniorHealth experts say:
- Diuretics – taken to eliminate excess fluid for conditions such as high blood pressure, edema and heart disease.
- Salicylate-containing drugs, such as aspirin
- Niacin, a vitamin also known as nicotinic acid
- Cyclosporine, a medication that suppresses the body’s immune system (the system that protects the body from infection and disease). Cyclosporine is used in the treatment of some autoimmune diseases and to prevent the body’s rejection of transplanted organs.
- Levodopa, used in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease.
Home treatments for gout include:
- Avoiding alcohol
- Maintaining a normal weight
- Eating foods that are low purines. Foods that are high in purines, include anchovies; asparagus; beef kidneys; brains; dried beans and peas; game meats; gravy; herring; mackerel; mushrooms; sardines; scallops; and sweetbreads.
Your health-care practitioner can help you decide what foods you should eat and whether you need medication. A treatment plan will work best if you tell your doctor about all the medicines you are taking, so you can avoid remedies counteracting each other.