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A Review of Common Gout Medications

Jul 10, 2008
There are many different types of gout medications currently available, each with their own benefits and side effects that should be considered before beginning treatment.

Non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID's) are often prescribed in order to reduce the swelling and alleviate the pain associated with acute gout attacks. However, medications are also being developed and are currently in use that are taken to prevent attacks from recurring - as well as to reduce symptoms should attacks occur.

Ensure you talk to your doctor about the various medications, and make sure you have the proper tests to determine the level of uric acid in your body (this may involve a fluid sample from the gouty joint or a simple urine test). Without the appropriate tests it's hard to make the proper decisions regarding choice of medication and progress is difficult to monitor. Also make sure you understand any possible risks and potential side effects prior to beginning treatment.

Two gout medications that are often prescribed for gout patients are Zyloprim® (allopurinol) and Adenuric® (febuxostat).

Allopurinol is taken orally in tablet form. This medication has been designed for small initial doses, which are then increased gradually in order to control the uric acid levels in the body. It functions by preventing xantine oxidase from being released by the body, which prevents uric acid formation. As gout attacks are caused by uric acid crystallization buildup in the joints, preventing the formation of uric acid makes allopurinol an effective method of treating and preventing the condition.

When taking allopurinol, patients will usually see their uric acid levels returning to normal within two to four week's time, and should witness a reduction in their gout attacks. When taking allopurinol, it's important to maintain regular doctor's visits so that uric acid levels in the body can be carefully monitored.

There are some side effects thought that patients should be made aware of prior to treatment. A common reaction to allopurinol includes skin rashes due to allergies. Rare side effects includes liver inflammation, failure of blood cell production by the bone marrow, blood vessel inflammation and Allopurinol hypersensitivity syndrome.

Febuxostat is also taken orally but only taken once a day and is designed to stop xanthine oxydase formation. With or without food, the typical dose of febuxostat is 80 milligrams. Though this is typically enough to bring uric acid levels to normal within two weeks, a higher dose of 120 milligrams may be considered if uric acid levels need to be lowered further. Reduction in gout attacks should occur as early as two weeks, but more often at four weeks into the treatment. Side effects reported for febuxostat include headache, diarrhea, nausea and abnormal liver function tests.

Of course, not everybody is comfortable taking gout medications for an extended period of time if they can be offered a more natural alternative. If you wish to look into alternative treatments to medications, it is a good idea to speak to your doctor about herbal and naturopathic remedies - just as you would discuss any prescription drug that you would consider taking. You may be surprised to discover that there are as many non-prescription natural ways to fight arthritis gout, as there are prescriptions to perform the same tasks. Have a browse through the rest of the blog, as there are a number of articles covering natural gout remedies.
About the Author
Grab your free copy of Lisa McDowell's brand new Gout Newsletter - Overflowing with easy to implement methods to help you discover more about gout medications and also alternative natural gout remedy options.
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