Most people with gout are able to control their symptoms and enjoy active lives with the use of proper medication. Treatment aims to reduce pain, prevent future attacks and avoid the development of tophi and kidney stones.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), or corticosteroids, which are either taken orally or injected into the affected joint, are two of the most common treatments for acute attacks of gout. NSAIDs and corticosteroids reduce the inflammation caused by deposits of uric acid crystals, although they have no effect on the amount of uric acid in the body. Patients often begin to improve within a few hours of treatment, and the attack usually goes away completely within a week or so.
Patients who have multiple gout attacks or who develop tophi or kidney stones are candidates for therapy that aims to normalize uric acid levels in the blood. Such drugs include those that help the kidneys eliminate uric acid, such as probenecid, and drugs that block production of uric acid by the body, such as allopurinol. During the initial phases of such treatment, low dose of the anti-inflammatory drug colchicine might be used to prevent a gout attack.
Reviewed by health care specialists at UCSF Medical Center.