Treating your gout is vital. Patients who leave gout untreated experience ongoing pain and risk kidney damage. In order to treat gout, doctors will often recommend a two-pronged treatment plan—firstly to provide pain relief, and secondly to proactively prevent future attacks.
Treatment plans for gout can include both medication and lifestyle changes to manage gout over the long-term. Let’s take a look at the methods often recommended to provide pain relief during a gout attack:
Pain relief is imperative when a gout attack strikes. So anti-inflammatory drugs or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to reduce pain and swelling are often prescribed to the patient to take when early signs of an acute gout attack present themselves (within the first 24-hours).
This pain reliever is derived from plant extracts and should be taken in the first 24-hours of an acute gout attack, in order to decrease both pain and inflammation.
Several types of corticosteroids have proven effective for acute gout attack treatment. However, there are different types of corticosteroids to treat gout, and how they are administered differs per patient. For instance, ACTH (or adrenocorticotropic hormone) is a drug that is injected directly into a swollen joint and relieves pain by triggering the natural release of corticosteroids by the body. Oral corticosteroids, like prednisone, are usually taken orally, but can also be administered via injection within the first 24 hours of an acute gout episode.
- Relax, rest and recoup
As with any medical condition, rest is important for healing. During a gout attack, doctors recommend that patients drink plenty of water, elevate the affected joint, and reduce stress levels, which can exacerbate gout.
- Call your doctor
Calling your doctor may be the last thing on your mind during a painful acute gout attack. However, medical supervision is vital for diminishing uric acid levels following an attack, in order to prevent them in the future.
Work with your doctor to reduce the risk of future gout attacks over the long-term via the following treatment methods:
- Lifestyle changes
Diet and weight management can help reduce the risk of ongoing gout attacks, particularly if patients are overweight, sedentary, eat a rich diet (i.e., meat, seafood, sugary beverages), and drink excessive amounts of alcohol.
- Medications to prevent gout attacks
Sticking with your doctor-prescribed medication plan to treat gout over the long-term (i.e., Allopurinol, Febuxostat, Lesinurad, Probenecid, and Pegloticase) in addition to your regular dose of colchicine, or a NSAID for the first 6 weeks to 12 months can help lower uric acid and prevent future gout attacks.
- Medications to treat tophi
Tophi are yellowish-chalky colored nodules that can form from uric acid crystal buildup in affected joints. Doctors will typically treat painful nodules with medication known as a xanthine oxidase inhibitors, which can help reduce the size of tophi.