Pros and Cons of Various Treatment Options for Gout


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Gout Treatment Options

Gout Treatment Options to ConsiderIn a 2011 survey involving gout patients, 23 percent compared the pain of a gout attack to glass piercing their skin, 28 percent to breaking a bone, 34 percent to a severe burn, and 37 percent to a stubbed toe.

Two-thirds of those surveyed believed their health care practitioners were not treating their condition seriously.

If this sounds like you, please read on. Below we outline various treatment options for the treatment of gout. If you feel that your condition is not being treated appropriately, you can build some of these treatment options into your daily life and bring some of these options to your health care practitioner.

Self-Care Remedies

A diet high in purines can trigger an attack of gout or make it worse. Foods that are purine-rich are red meats, seafood such as shrimp, lobster, mussels, anchovies and sardines, foods containing yeast, beer and grain liquors, and organ meats. 

Dietary Changes

Avoiding the foods that are high in purines can stave off a gout attack. Avoiding sugary drinks and sweets can also help.

Increasing water intake decreases the possibility of uric acid crystals forming at the joints. Avoiding alcohol in general can also be helpful; some alcohol is high in purine but alcohol is also dehydrating, which may promote uric acid crystal formation.

Weight Loss and Exercise

Maintaining a healthy weight and having an exercise routine can help prevent gout attacks. When attempting to promote a healthy weight, “crash” diets and low-carbohydrate, high-protein diets are not suggested, as some high protein foods are high in purines.

Select exercise routines that are gentle to the joints, such as swimming or walking.

Generally, lifestyle modifications have little cons; however, when they do not work or stop working, it may be time to add medications for pain relief or prevention.

Medication Options

When self-care remedies fail to reduce flare-ups and pain, it may be time to look into over-the-counter (OTC) or prescription medications.

Pain Relief During Flare-ups

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs): Oral medication that can reduce pain and inflammation during a flare-up. Examples include Aleve, Advil, and Motrin.

  • Pros: They relieve pain and inflammation. They are also not a narcotic and are not a prescription so they can be purchased OTC at the drugstore and have few contraindications.
  • Cons: Can cause gastric upset and ulcers if taken for long durations of time. Sometimes a proton pump inhibitor (PPI) must be taken along with NSAIDs.

Colchicine: A prescription that can be used if NSAIDs are ineffective. 

  • Pros: Relieves pain and inflammation.
  • Cons: Can cause abdominal pain and diarrhea.

Next page: preventative medications for gout treatment.

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Krystina OstermeyerKrystina Ostermeyer

Krysti is a practicing RN who also enjoys writing about health and wellness. She has a varied nursing background and is currently working as a diabetes educator. She lives in a small town with her husband and two-year-old son.

Jul 19, 2016
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