The beginning of the new year is a great time to make positive changes that support your long-term health. With the holidays behind you, you may find it easier to get back into a routine that includes eating balanced meals and exercising regularly. If you suffer with gout, the beginning of a new year might also be the right time for a new approach to gout and gout flares.
Eat a healthful gout diet
Start the new year by cleaning the “junk” out your refrigerator and cabinets and replacing it with healthy foods. Try leaner sources of protein, including chicken, turkey, fish and/or tofu.1 Low-fat dairy products are great because they can help to reduce your uric acid levels (not to mention strengthen your bones).1 Consider swapping white bread and processed cereal with whole-grain alternatives, and keep plenty of vegetables, fruits and legumes on hand.1
Medication is the most effective way to prevent recurrent gout attacks, but lifestyle changes like exercise can make a difference as well.2 Regular exercise can also help to prevent or manage many health problems (high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and depression, for example).3 Before you start any exercise program, however, be sure to talk with your doctor.3
Achieve or maintain a healthy weight
According to Hyon Choi, MD, PhD, professor or medicine and director of the Gout and Crystal Arthropathy Center at Harvard Medical School, “there’s a very tight association between excess weight and the risk of developing gout and gout flares.”4 If one of your goals this year is to lose weight, be sure to do it gradually by getting more exercise and improving your diet.1,2 Fasting and crash dieting may be quick fixes, but both are known to cause gout flares.5
According to the Gout Education Society, people with gout should drink plenty of water to help flush uric acid out of their bodies.6 Before you change your drinking habits, however, be sure to ask your doctor how much water you should have each day.7
Consuming any kind of wine, beer, or spirits can raise the uric acid level in the bloodstream and increase the risk of a gout flare.8,9 This is especially true if you have more than one serving of alcohol per day.10 Avoiding alcohol may help you avoid gout flares.8,9
Take your medications
If you have gout, chances are your doctor has prescribed you allopurinol (or a similar medication) to help reduce the amount of uric acid in your bloodstream.11 You may also be taking Mitigare® (Colchicine) 0.6 mg Capsules or Authorized Generic Colchicine Capsules to help prevent flares.12 If you are not taking these medications, ask your doctor about them—they may help you avoid gout attacks.11,12
Though you might be tempted to make several lifestyle changes at once, start with one that you know you can stick to (drinking eight cups of water each day, perhaps). Once you’ve successfully made one change, begin focusing on another. By working toward your goals gradually, you may find it easier to make lasting changes for better long-term health.
Mitigare® is a registered trademark of Hikma Pharmaceuticals USA Inc.
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.