Gout, a form of arthritis, most often affects the large toe, ankles and feet in sudden, intensely painful attacks. The attacks usually occur in men and can start in the middle of the night. A buildup of uric acid in the body can cause the substance to crystallize in the joints that then causes the attack. These attacks typically last—at the extreme pain levels—for 12 to 24 hours, but the pain and tenderness can linger for days and weeks. Physicians generally treat gout in two ways: with preventive medications and drugs to help during attacks.
Among the preventive drugs used to fight gout, allopurinol decreases the amount of uric acid in the body when taken regularly. With less uric acid in a person’s body, crystallization occurs less frequently and less intensively. Some people can avoid gout attacks by taking allopurinol regularly. Drugs.com reports only nonserious common side effects such as nausea and diarrhea occur with the use of this medication. They typically end as the body becomes accustomed to the drug.
Febuxostat, classified as a xanthine oxidase inhibitor, Drugs.com states, also works as a preventive medication for gout. It functions much the same way as allopurinol by decreasing uric acid levels in the blood. MayoClinic.com reports that this medication, as well as allopurinol, can trigger a new gout attack if the person takes it before a previous gout attack has fully ended. Common nonserious side effects include nausea and pain in the joints.
Probenecid, too, works as a preventive by reducing the uric acid that occurs in excessive amounts in the blood. While no cure exists for gout, and people who get it suffer with it most of their lives, the use of probenecid can help prevent attacks. This medication, Drugs.com states, can cause nonserious common side effects such as dizziness, loss of hair and appetite, flushing, nausea, and vomiting.
Colchicine works both as a medicine to prevent gout attacks and to end them during an attack. When the gout sufferer takes colchicine in small doses regularly, it can help prevent the attacks. When a gout attack occurs, the person can take significantly more of the drug to help it end. This medication, MayoClinic.com reports, can cause some serious common side effects, primarily pain in the stomach, vomiting, nausea and diarrhea. A doctor needs to know about these side effects to potentially provide medical aid.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs work to help treat the symptoms of gout as well as other forms of arthritis. Over-the-counter NSAIDs such as naproxen sodium and prescription-level medications such as indomethacin can reduce the pain and swelling of a gout attack. While no serious side effects of indomethacin occur commonly, the nonserious common side effect of headaches may occur.