What You Need to Know About Gout Medication03/23/2023
Gout, while commonly diagnosed, can cause painful attacks and flare ups. To control the side effects of gout, medication is often prescribed. To learn more about how gout is treated and about the different types of gout medication, continue reading below.
Gout is a type of inflammatory arthritis that causes severe pain in one or more joints. It affects over nine million Americans, or about 3.9 percent of the U.S. adult population.
Gout is often referred to as “the disease of kings” and “the rich man’s disease” because of its link to a rich diet high in protein and alcohol consumption. However, anyone, regardless of sex, diet or age, can get gout, although research shows that is more common in older and middle-aged men.
If you experience gout, your doctor may prescribe gout medication to help reduce pain during gout attacks and prevent future flare-ups. Read on to learn more about common types of gout medication, their benefits and how doctors choose the best medicine for gout to prescribe for their patients.
Gout Medication: Common Types
Before diving into the types of gout medication, it’s important to know a bit more about gout to learn how its treatments work.
Uric acid, a waste product found in the blood, forms when chemicals in the body break down purines, a chemical naturally found in the body. Purines can also be found in certain foods and drinks, such as red meat, organ meats, seafood and alcohol.
Normally, the body efficiently breaks down uric acid in the blood and excretes it via the kidneys then through urination. However, if the body makes too much uric acid or the kidneys don’t remove it quickly enough, it can build up, creating urate crystals. These crystals settle into one or more joints, causing pain and inflammation.
Antigout agents can be categorized into drugs that relieve inflammation and pain during flare-ups and medicines that help prevent future attacks. The following are some examples.
Gout Medication for Relief During Attacks or Flares
*Prescription Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) * NSAIDs, along with corticosteroids, are usually the first-line therapy for gout attacks. They help reduce the pain and inflammation that occur with gout flare-ups. If over-the-counter NSAIDs don’t offer sufficient pain relief, doctors may prescribe stronger NSAIDs such as:
This gout medication is typically prescribed to treat acute gout attacks. However, it may also be used to reduce the risk of future flare-ups. Colchicine works by keeping uric acid in the body from forming urate crystals.
Examples of Colchicine Brand Names:
Corticosteroids may be prescribed to people who cannot take NSAIDs and colchicine. They provide relief from symptoms by reducing inflammation. They can be given orally and via injection into the inflamed joint (intra-articular steroids).
Examples of corticosteroids:
Gout Medication to Prevent Flares and Complications
Probenecid works by removing excess uric acid from the blood, lowering the risk of urate crystal formation. A combination of colchicine and probenecid may be prescribed as both a preventative measure and treatment for an acute attack.
Examples of probenecid brand names:
- Colbenemid® (with colchicine)
- Proben-C® (with colchicine)
This gout medication belongs to the drug class xanthine oxidase inhibitor and was approved for use in gout treatments by the FDA in 2009. It lowers uric acid levels in patients who produce too much uric acid as well as those who produce a normal amount but excrete it too slowly.
Febuxostat is available as a brand medication under the name Uloric®.
This gout medication, like febuxostat, lowers uric acid levels and promotes uric acid excretion through urine. It can only be taken by mouth.
Examples of allopurinol brand names:
How Doctors Determine the Best Medication for Gout
Many factors are considered by your doctor when deciding which types of gout medication to prescribe for you. These include:
Other Health Conditions You Have
For instance, your doctor may not prescribe you NSAIDs if you have high blood pressure. This is because NSAIDs may cause blood pressure levels to rise.
Other Medications You’re Taking
Gout medications can interact with certain drugs. For example, you might not be able to take colchicine safely if you’re also taking cholesterol medications, as doing so increases the risk of muscle damage.
Research shows that less than 50 percent of people diagnosed with gout take their medication as directed. There are many reasons for this, an important one being cost. Many people find it difficult to afford their prescription medication.
However, it’s crucial to take gout medication regularly. Apart from addressing symptoms and preventing flare-ups, medication helps prevent gout from worsening other conditions a patient may have.
How to Save on Gout Medication
You can cut down on medication costs by asking your doctor for more affordable options, such as generic drugs. You could also use a prescription discount program such as Inside Rx.
Inside Rx is a savings card that allows users access to lower prices on their prescription medication. It is free and reusable, and you don’t need to sign up. What’s more, you can save up to 80 off the retail cost of medication, both brand and generic prescription medications.
Inside Rx can be used at more than 60,000 participating pharmacies in the United States and Puerto Rico. To get started, follow these steps:
- Download the Inside Rx card
- Head to the Inside Rx website, enter the name of your medication in the search bar and your zip code
- Compare prices from drug stores in your area
- Order your prescription as usual
- Present your card to the pharmacist when you pick it up to save
You can also download the Inside Rx app so you can look up pricing information for your gout medication on the go. Learn more about Inside Rx by heading to the help page.