What are treatment options for gout?
There is no cure for gout, and if you already have joint damage, this cannot be reversed; however, there are treatment options available to help manage your symptoms, improve your function and prevent further joint damage. Treatments are usually more successful when gout is diagnosed and treated early. TeleMed2U rheumatologists recommend that the treatment of any form of arthritis start with a “S.E.N.S.E.”-ible approach. Here are the different types of treatments available for gout:
- Stress management - Managing your stress on a daily basis is very important to control your joint pains. Reducing stress on your joint(s) are also important, by:
- Modification of activities- restrictions may need to be made about the amount of time or type of activities done while at work or playing certain sports, especially during an acute gout attack.
- Physical and/or occupational therapy- known to be beneficial with developing a fitness program to improve flexibility, range of motion, and reduce pain. Therapists can also help with assistive devices and help patients learn to use them effectively. Examples include braces, canes, walkers, crutches, or wheelchairs.
- Weight loss program- recommendations for weight loss may be explored if weight may be an issue, especially if it affects a weight bearing joint (knee) that is arthritic.
- Exercise- staying active may be recommended by your physician, and suggestions on low-impact exercise may be explored to improve symptoms.
- Nutrition - Eating less processed, more whole foods (fruits & vegetables) to help with weight loss is important for the management of all chronic diseases.
- Supplements- there has been evidence that certain supplements like tart cherry extract may help gout: https://theralogix.com/products/cerasus-cq-tart-cherry-supplement
*To learn how you can customize your own lifestyle management program to lose weight and control your chronic diseases with less medications, make an appointment today with our integrative rheumatologist, Dr Barry Shibuya.
Currently, there is no cure for gout. The goal for treatment is to manage the pain from current flare-ups and to also prevent any future episodes and permanent joint damage. This usually involves medications and lifestyle modifications as noted above. Treatment for gout is very manageable if done early and effectively.
Here are the different types of medications currently available for acute gout flare-ups:
- Colchicine- an anti-inflammatory specifically for gout. It is known to cause gastrointestinal (GI) distress, so it may not be the best option for those already suffering from GI conditions.
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)- both over-the-counter and prescription preparations can be used for acute flare-ups to treat the symptoms of gout.
- Corticosteroids- a stronger anti-inflammatory that can be used in a pill form or injected directly into the inflamed joint.
Here are medications for gout flare prevention:
- Medications that lowers blood uric acid
- Febuxostat (Uloric)
- Alopurinl (Aloprim, Lopurin, Zyloprim)
- Pegloticase (IV Krystexxa)
To learn more about how to treat difficult to control gout, please visit: https://www.yourgouttreatment.com/
- Medications that increase urinary excretion of uric acid
- Probenecid (Probalan) - do NOT take if you have had kidney stones
If medications fail, what are other treatment options available?
Many non-surgical treatments can be used for the management of an acute gout attack, such as rest, ice, and elevation. However, lifestyle changes may be key to preventing future gout flare-ups, especially when medications fail, as mentioned above. Examples include:
- Exercise- developing an exercise routine to lose weight has shown to reduce urate levels preventing gout flare-ups.
- Diet changes
- Reducing alcohol intake
- Avoiding drinks or foods with high sugar content such as soda and desserts
- Avoiding red meat, seafood, or organ meats
Gout is a very manageable type of arthritis when managed appropriately by experienced healthcare professionals. These professionals may include dieticians, rheumatologists, or primary care physicians. If you continue to suffer from gout flare-ups, our specialist at TeleMed2U may be able to help develop a more effective treatment plan for you.