Gout is an acute inflammatory type of arthritis. Gout attacks are chronic painful reddish inflammation and tenderness of the joints. The most commonly affected joint is that of the big toe which affects over 50% of the patients. Other commonly affected joints are the elbows, knees, fingers, and toes.
Gout is caused by a deposition of uric acid crystals in the bone joints. Uric acid is formed by the natural breakdown of waste material in the body. In normal situations, the kidneys clear out the uric acid produced in the body. In gout, the uric acid is not cleared completely or not cleared out fast enough.
Gout can evolve into a chronic condition with recurrent attacks over time. Gout was once called the king’s disease or the rich man’s disease since it was associated with a lavish lifestyle and excessively rich diets.
Gout is most common in older men who consume a lot of meat, seafood, and alcohol.
Gout: how does it start?
The primary cause of gout is elevated levels of uric acid in the blood.
This uric acid forms crystals that deposit around bones, joints, tendons, and cartilage. The depositions cause inflammation and pain. Over time, uric acid deposits can also cause bone erosion.
Gout attacks can start in many ways, but the usual course is a sudden onset of inflammation and redness in the night followed by intense pain in a few hours. This attack can last for days or weeks before subsiding. There may be associated symptoms of fever, fatigue, and insomnia.
Lifestyle factors like a high-protein diet and high alcohol consumption are contributing factors. Red meat, seafood, shellfish, beer, etc. are primary stressors for gout attacks. Genetics also plays an important contributing factor.
Treatment: best Gout medicine
The best approach to gout treatment is a two-pronged approach: taking the best gout medicine and making lifestyle changes.
The best gout medicine aims to reduce the signs and symptoms of gout as well as address the underlying cause.
The best gout medicine is of the following types:
Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are both over-the-counter and prescription-only drugs. NSAIDs work to reduce the inflammation, pain, and fever associated with gout. These are the first line of treatment for gout. An NSAID is the best gout medicine for the initial stages of gout. Most patients with gout take low doses of NSAIDs like Ibuprofen and Paracetamol. Higher strength NSAIDs like Naproxen and Indomethacin may be prescribed for chronic or severe cases of gout. No specific NSAID is more effective than any other, and choice mostly depends on personal preference. The medicine takes about 4 hours to show effects and therapy may be continued for 1-2 weeks. Common side effects of NSAIDs are indigestion, stomach cramps, increased risk of bleeding, and nausea.
Colchicine is used in two ways: to treat acute attacks and to prevent recurrent attacks of gout. Colchicine reduces the pain, redness, inflammation, and swelling of the joints affected by gout. The medication is taken rapidly. It is prescribed to patients who cannot tolerate NSAIDs or if the NSAIDs have become ineffective. Colchicine is taken as soon as you feel an attack starting. At higher doses, the side effects often become unbearable which limits the use of this medicine. Side effects include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, etc.
Corticosteroids are some of the best gout medicines available. Corticosteroids such as prednisolone can be taken orally or even injected into the affected joints. Corticosteroids are used for short-term treatment in moderate to low doses. Steroids can’t be taken in high doses for a prolonged period as they can have some terrible side effects. It includes bruising, weight gain, osteoporosis, hyperpigmentation, muscle weakness, and problems managing glucose.
Best Gout medicine to block Uric Acid production
Allopurinol and Febuxostat are drugs that block the production of uric acid in the body. These are some of the best gout medicines on the market. This class of drugs is called xanthine oxidase inhibitors. Allopurinol is the best gout medicine available and is the gold-standard of treatment. Febuxostat is the first medicine developed specifically for the treatment of gout. Side effects of these medications include low blood counts, rashes, headache, nausea, and diarrhea.
Best Gout medicine to increase Uric Acid clearance
Probenecid is one of the best gout medicines that improve the ability of the kidneys to clear uric acid from the blood. It reduces circulating levels of uric acid, but the uric acid content will increase in the urine.
Side effects are kidney stones, rashes, and stomach pain.
Losing weight, reducing the intake of meat and seafood, and staying away from alcohol help to limit the symptoms of gout. It also reduces the frequency of gout attacks. Apart from taking the best gout medicine, lifestyle changes are also important. It contributes greatly to recovery and prophylaxis.
Gout can be a painfully disabling condition that affects approximately 1-2% of the global population. With proper lifestyle adjustments and by taking the best gout medicine, you can manage the effects of gout.