A gout attack happens when needle-like uric acid crystals are deposited in the connective tissues or in the space between bones in a joint. The body produces uric acid as the system breaks down the naturally occurring purines in the body and in the food that we eat. It is when there is an excess of uric acid in the system that uric acid is formed and a gout attack happens.
The symptoms of gout are redness of a joint, accompanied by inflammation, stiffness and intense pain. Gout usually attacks the big toes although other body joints such as ankles, wrists, fingers or elbows are equally susceptible to a gout attack. An attack is characterized by the redness of the joint, inflammation, stiffness and intense pain. Chronic gout may lead to gouty arthritis.
Gout can be treated by watching what you eat, drinking many fluids/waters, exercising and keeping your weight down. However, chronic gout conditions and chronic gout treatment may have to be carried out medically using gout medications that often need to be taken under the supervision of a medical practitioner. An attack of gout may last anywhere from three to four days, depending on the severity. The current chronic gout treatment medications do not offer instant relief from the sometimes excruciating and debilitating pain that often accompany the attack.
The goals of the drug treatment for a chronic gout condition can be two-fold: to prevent attacks and to alleviate the symptoms once an attack has already started. One group of drugs can ease the pain associated with acute gout attacks. Other medications can help prevent future attacks while still others prevent the formation of tophi or kidney stones, the hardened lumps of uric acid deposited in the joints. Among the medications that are most often prescribed and their effects are as follows:
Allopurinol is often prescribed for chronic gout or gouty arthritis. It inhibits the production of uric acid by the body itself. For it to be effective in preventing gout attacks, it has to be taken over time. It has no effect whatsoever once a gout attack has started
One of the most common treatments for a chronic gout condition are doses of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) that can be taken orally or corticosteroids, which can also be taken orally or be injected into the affected joint. Their immediate effect is to lessen the attendant pain.
Colchicine is used to treat chronic gouty arthritis as well as to prevent recurrent acute attacks. It should be understood that the drug colchicine itself does not cure gout nor does it take the place of other medicines that can lower the amount of uric acid present in the body. What it does is to prevent or to relieve gout attacks by reducing inflammation of the tissues in the joint areas. Colchicine may be used in 2 ways: some people take small amounts of it regularly for months or years, while others take large amounts of colchicine over a short period of time, i.e., several hours, in anticipation of a big meal or after ingesting a large amount of purine rich foods. In either instance, the taking of this medication still has to be under a doctor’s supervision.