Gout occurs due to high levels of uric acid in the blood. It mostly affects the large joint of the big toe. It is characterized by severe joint pain, redness, inflammation, limited range of motion of the joint, etc. Uric acid is usually excreted in the urine. However, in people affected by this disease, uric acid is not excreted in normal amounts. The presence of large amounts of uric acid in the blood gives rise to the formation of long, needle shaped urate crystals. When these crystals accumulate around a joint or surrounding tissue, it gives rise to intense pain, swelling, and inflammation. These symptoms can be eased with the help of certain drugs that are sold over the counter. However, it is advisable to seek medical assistance, if the symptoms are severe.
Over-the-Counter Treatment for Gout
During the onset of the disease, non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are often recommended. Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug that also act as an analgesic. It can effectively reduce inflammation of the joint. However, these might not provide relief to every patient. Under such circumstances, steroid medications can prove to be helpful. These medications are either injected or administered orally to the patients.
Prescription drugs are more effective than OTC treatments. Colchicine is by far the most effective drug for alleviating the symptoms of gout. This medication is to be taken in multiple small doses per day. However, some people may develop certain undesirable side effects such as nausea, stomach cramps, diarrhea, etc. As colchicine is very effective in relieving pain and swelling, it is not desirable to abruptly discontinue the medicine. Instead, you can reduce the daily dosage, so as to minimize the side effects. It should be taken during the first two days of the attack, and continue its small dosage even after the attack. In any case, it is best to consult your doctor.
Allopurinol (Lopurin, Zurinol, Zyloprim) is a drug that reduces the level of uric acid in the blood. As a result, there is less stress on the kidneys to flush out uric acid. Hence, this medication is recommended for individuals affected by a kidney disorder. Side effects of this medication include skin rash and upset stomach. If the side effects are severe or if there is an incidence of hives, itching, etc., do not hesitate to call your doctor immediately. Probenecid (Probalan) is a drug that helps lower the uric acid levels in the blood by improving the kidney function. Though this drug could help in treating gout, it increases the level of uric acid in urine. Thus, it should be taken under medical supervision. Some of the side effects associated with its use include stomach pain, kidney stones, rash, etc.
Most of the over-the-counter or prescription drugs cause side effects. Hence, it is best to rely upon natural remedies.
➠ Following a diet that consists of purine-free foods is the most effective way of keeping uric acid levels in the blood under check.
➠ One must cut down on the intake of red meat, organ meats, and seafood.
➠ Also, avoid or cut down on the intake of alcoholic drinks and beverages that contain fructose.
➠ Staying hydrated at all times will also minimize the risk of gout attacks.
➠ Taking calcium supplements also helps to reduce the occurrence of gout attack.
Those who have a history of gout in their families should follow preventive measures. Though over-the-counter drugs could help alleviate symptoms to some extent, it's advisable to consult your healthcare provider for proper diagnosis and treatment.
The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.