For many people with gout, it’s hard to imagine anything more painful than a gout attack.1 Fortunately, there are a number of ways you can ease the intense pain, heat and swelling associated with one of these episodes, as well as reduce your risk of future gout flare ups.2 Read on to learn more about how to handle a gout attack.
Take a non-aspirin NSAID
As soon as you realize you are having a gout attack, take an over-the-counter non-aspirin non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) such as ibuprofen or naproxen.2 Do not take aspirin, however—it can make a gout flare worse.2
Drink non-alcoholic, non-sugary beverages such as water, low-fat milk or coffee3 to help flush excess uric acid out of your body2. According to the Arthritis Foundation, you should try to drink eight to 16 cups of these kind of fluids daily during a flare (half of them should be water).2 But be sure to talk with your doctor before you change your drinking habits.3 He or she can tell you how much water is okay for you.3
To relieve pain and reduce inflammation, wrap ice or a cold pack (even a bag of frozen peas will do) in a dish towel and gently place it on your affected joint.2 Ice the area for 20 to 30 minutes at a time, several times each day during the first few days you are suffering with the gout flare up.2
Elevate the affected joint
Use pillows or cushions to prop your affected joint above the level of your heart.2 Elevating the joint in this way may help to reduce swelling.2
Adjust your bedding
When you’re in the middle of a gout attack, a thin bedsheet can feel like it’s crushing your joint.2 Try loosening your bedding and/or consider leaving the affected area uncovered until your gout flare starts to subside.2
Try to relax
Stress can make gout worse, so do your best to relax.2 Watch television, talk on the phone, flip through a magazine or listen to music—whatever helps take your mind off the pain.2
Avoid certain foods and drinks
Certain foods and drinks have been shown to aggravate gout, specifically red meat, shellfish, alcoholic beverages, fruit juices and sweets.3 Avoid these as much as possible, especially when you are having a gout flare.2
Contact your doctor
Once the worst of your symptoms are under control, call your doctor as soon as you can.2 Receiving treatment within the first 24 hours of the beginning of a gout attack may help to shorten and/or reduce its intensity.2 If your flare is severe, your doctor may give you a corticosteroid injection to help manage the pain and swelling.2 If your gout diagnosis has not yet been confirmed, your doctor may also want to do a joint fluid test and/or prescribe you new or different medication.2
Try using a cane
If gout is affecting a joint in your lower body (your foot or knee, for example), you may want to try walking with a cane for the first day or two after the attack.2 Walking with a cane can help take some of the pressure off the affected joint.2
Prevent the next gout attack
Although the pain of a gout attack will eventually subside, it’s not an experience you’re likely to forget. Fortunately, medication is available to help prevent gout flares.4 One example is Mitigare® (Colchicine) 0.6 mg Capsules, which is FDA-approved to help prevent gout flares in adults.4 The safety and effectiveness of Mitigare® for acute treatment of gout flares during prophylaxis has not been studied, however.4 It is also important to keep in mind that Mitigare® is not an analgesic medication and should not be used to treat pain from other causes.4 To learn more about Mitigare and how it may be able to help you prevent gout flares4, talk with your doctor.
Important Safety Information
Colchicine 0.6 mg capsules are contraindicated in patients with renal or hepatic impairment who are currently prescribed drugs that inhibit both P-gp and CYP3A4. Combining these dual inhibitors with colchicine in patients with renal or hepatic impairment has resulted in life-threatening or fatal colchicine toxicity. Patients with both renal and hepatic impairment should not be given Mitigare®.
Fatal overdoses have been reported with colchicine in adults and children. Keep Mitigare® out of the reach of children.
Blood dyscrasias such as myelosuppression, leukopenia, granulocytopenia, thrombocytopenia, and aplastic anemia have been reported with colchicine used in therapeutic doses.
Monitor for toxicity and if present consider temporary interruption or discontinuation of colchicine.
Drug interaction with dual P-gp and CYP3A4 inhibitors: Co-administration of colchicine with dual P-gp and CYP3A4 inhibitors has resulted in life-threatening interactions and death.
Neuromuscular toxicity and rhabdomyolysis may occur with chronic treatment with colchicine in therapeutic doses, especially in combination with other drugs known to cause this effect. Patients with impaired renal function and elderly patients (including those with normal renal and hepatic function) are at increased risk. Consider temporary interruption or discontinuation of Mitigare®.
NOTE: This article was not written by a medical professional and is not intended to substitute for the guidance of a physician. These are not Hikma’s recommendations for gout flare prevention, but rather facts and data collected from various reliable medical sources. For a full list of resources and their attributing links, see below.
Mitigare® is a registered trademark of Hikma Pharmaceuticals USA Inc.