Gout affects more than nine million Americans.1 However, most people—including many who who suffer with the disease—know very little about the condition.1,2 That’s why the Gout Education Society (formerly known as the Gout and Uric Acid Education Society) and the Arthritis Foundation established Gout Awareness Day in 2007. Gout Awareness Day is a great opportunity to learn more and help educate others about this common, yet frequently misunderstood disease.1,2 Read on to find out more about this important event, which takes place on May 22.
Understand the condition
Gout, one of the oldest known afflictions, is caused by excess uric acid in the bloodstream.3 For years, people thought this excess uric acid was the result of eating too much rich food and drinking too much alcohol.3 Research, however, indicates this isn’t always the case.4,5 Although gout attacks can be triggered by certain foods and drinks, heredity is largely to blame for the disease.4,5
Learn as much as you can
Start with your doctor and healthcare team. They are most familiar with your individual gout case and therefore best equipped to give you useful, precise and timely information. The internet is another resource, but sometimes it’s difficult to tell which websites are credible (and perhaps more important, which ones are not). That said, the Gout Education Society (formerly the Gout and Uric Acid Education Society) site (www.gouteducation.org) is a good place to visit for accurate, in-depth disease state information, helpful resources and even help finding a gout specialist.6 Looking for interesting articles on specific gout-related topics? Check out the gout flare prevention blog at www.mitigare.com.7
Seek treatment if you need it
If you suspect you have gout, make an appointment to see your doctor right away.3 He or she can ask you questions, assess your symptoms, perform tests and determine if gout is indeed the cause of your pain.3 If you are diagnosed with gout, your doctor can make disease management recommendations, which may include medication:
- Urate-lowering therapy (ULT), such as allopurinol, can address the root cause of gout by reducing the amount of uric acid in the bloodstream.3
- Colchicine therapy, such as Mitigare® (Colchicine) 0.6mg Capsules or can help prevent the painful flares associated with the condition.3,8
Take it seriously
According to a 2016 survey of people with gout (conducted by Wakefield Research on behalf of the Gout Education Society), nearly one in five gout patients believes that nothing is more painful than a gout flare.2 But flares are just one aspect of the condition.3 Untreated gout is also associated with joint damage and disfigurement, kidney problems, hypertension and heart disease.3 It even has the potential to threaten quality of life.3 If you have been diagnosed with gout, take it seriously. Visit your doctor regularly, follow his or her advice and have your uric acid levels checked every six months.9
Take care of yourself
Think of Gout Awareness Day as a reminder to evaluate your lifestyle and strive to take better care of yourself. Although diet doesn’t necessarily cause gout, eating healthfully and drinking plenty of nonalcoholic, unsweetened beverages (water, coffee, tea, etc.) can go a long way toward improving your overall well being.9 Exercise (as long as you are not in the middle of a gout flare) is also worthwhile because it can help boost not only your physical health but your mood as well.10
Talk to your family and friends
Unfortunately, gout is an often misunderstood condition.2 One way to change that is to share your gout knowledge with your family and friends. Invite them to ask you questions and allow you to teach them about the disease. And if you’re newly diagnosed and just learning about gout, invite a loved one to accompany you to a doctor visit. You can ask them to take notes, remind you of questions or concerns you may have forgotten to mention or simply support you as you learn more about the condition together.
Spread the word
Want to get the word out about gout? The toolkit available from the Alliance for Gout Awareness is an excellent place to start. It includes information and links to helpful resources, videos, a podcast, shareable social media graphics, suggested social media posts and more.11 And be sure to wear blue on May 22!11 It’s a great way to promote Gout Awareness Day and demonstrate your support for those who are living with the disease.11
Mitigare® is a registered trademark of Hikma Pharmaceuticals USA Inc.
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®.
The most commonly reported adverse reactions with colchicine are gastrointestinal symptoms, including diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain.
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.