Article

Treatments for gout

Female doctor holding a patients hand
There are two types of medicines for gout: medicines for managing acute gout attacks, and medicines to prevent gout attacks and complications.
Medically reviewed by
AKF's Medical Advisory Committee
Last updated
November 11, 2021
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Medicines for gout attacks

The main goal of treatment during a gout attack is to decrease pain and swelling. Some medicines are safe for people with kidney disease, and some are not. Talk to your doctor about which medicines make the most sense for you to try.

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)

NSAIDs are medicines that decrease pain and swelling. Some NSAIDs are available over the counter, like ibuprofen and naproxen sodium. Stronger NSAIDs like indomethacin and celecoxib must be prescribed by a doctor.Taking NSAIDs can lead to kidney disease in time or make kidney disease worse. NSAIDs may not be recommended when you have kidney disease even for the treatment of gout attacks.

Colchine

Colchine is a medicine that can relieve pain. Your doctor may recommend taking colchine during a gout attack, or low doses of colchine every day if you have chronic gout. Colchine may not be recommended for people with kidney disease. Talk to your doctor about whether colchine is right for you.

Corticosteroids, also known as steroids

Steroids are strong medicines used to decrease swelling and pain. Steroids are usually only given for gout if you cannot take NSAIDS or colchine. Steroids can be taken as a pill or given as an injection. Talk to your doctor about whether steroids are safe for you. 

Medicines for gout prevention and complications

Your doctor can prescribe medicines to help keep a healthy level of uric acid in your body, which can prevent future gout attacks and the complications from gout. When you have gout, your body either makes too much uric acid or cannot get rid of enough of it, which causes it to build up.Some medicines are safe to take when you have kidney disease, but some are not. Talk to your doctor about which medicines are safe for you.

Allopurinol

Allopurinol is a medicine for people who make too much uric acid. It is the most common medicine used to treat chronic gout. Your doctor can tell you if allopurinol is safe for you to take if you have kidney disease.

Febuxostat

Febuxostat is a medicine that works for people who make too much uric acid. Febuxostat can sometimes lead to liver damage, so you will need to have blood work done regularly to be sure it does not affect your liver. Talk to your doctor to find out if febuxostat is safe for you.

Probenecid

Probenecid is a medicine that works for people who cannot get rid of enough uric acid. It works to remove extra uric acid through your urine. Probenecid can increase your risk of kidney stones. Probenecid is not safe to take for many people with kidney disease, so talk to your doctor for more information about probenecid.

Pegloticase

Pegloticase is an infusion medicine given by injection into your vein at a doctor's office, usually every two weeks. It is used for severe chronic gout when other medicines do not work. Pegloticase can quickly bring your uric acid down to a lower level than most medicines can. Talk to your doctor about whether pegloticase is safe for you. Click here to learn more about this type of treatment.

Other ways to treat gout

Medicine is considered the most effective treatment method for gout, but there are lifestyle changes you can make to manage your symptoms during a gout attack or help prevent gout attacks from happening.

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