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How can gout be treated?

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In brief: Treatment of gout

You will usually have symptoms of gout for up to two weeks and then they will go away, even without treatment.
You may only have one episode of gout in your lifetime, but it might return. If you have no treatment to prevent gout, the risk of it returning within three years is over eight in 10. If you don’t have treatment, having gout may become more frequent and last for longer.


Self-help
There are a number of steps you can take to reduce the pain and swelling from having gout.


• Raise and rest your joint. Don’t do any vigorous physical activity. Rarely, your doctor may give you a splint to wear to stop you moving your joint.
• Keep your joint cool and don't cover it. Ice the affected joint using an ice pack or ice wrapped in a towel for about 20 minutes at a time to reduce swelling and bruising. Don’t apply ice directly to your skin as it can damage it. If you need to repeat this, let your joint return to its normal temperature first.
• Drink enough water.


Medicines
There are medicines your doctor can prescribe to help to ease your pain and swelling from gout.

Your doctor may prescribe non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen and naproxen, which may relieve pain and inflammation. If you have a heart condition, high blood pressure, kidney or lung disease, or if you're over 65, these medicines may be harmful, so you need to talk to your doctor before taking them. Don’t take aspirin because this medicine can affect your uric acid levels and make your gout last longer.

If NSAIDs aren't suitable for you, your doctor may prescribe a medicine called colchicine instead. Colchicine also reduces inflammation, but in a different way to NSAIDs. You may have side-effects from this medicine including diarrhea, but this can be reduced by taking lower doses.

Occasionally, your doctor may prescribe steroid tablets if you can't take NSAIDs or colchicine. Alternatively, he or she may recommend a steroid joint injection if you have gout in a large joint (such as your knee).

In brief: Treatment of gout

You will usually have symptoms of gout for up to two weeks and then they will go away, even without treatment.
You may only have one episode of gout in your lifetime, but it might return. If you have no treatment to prevent gout, the risk of it returning within three years is over eight in 10. If you don’t have treatment, having gout may become more frequent and last for longer.


Self-help
There are a number of steps you can take to reduce the pain and swelling from having gout.


• Raise and rest your joint. Don’t do any vigorous physical activity. Rarely, your doctor may give you a splint to wear to stop you moving your joint.
• Keep your joint cool and don't cover it. Ice the affected joint using an ice pack or ice wrapped in a towel for about 20 minutes at a time to reduce swelling and bruising. Don’t apply ice directly to your skin as it can damage it. If you need to repeat this, let your joint return to its normal temperature first.
• Drink enough water.


Medicines
There are medicines your doctor can prescribe to help to ease your pain and swelling from gout.

Your doctor may prescribe non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen and naproxen, which may relieve pain and inflammation. If you have a heart condition, high blood pressure, kidney or lung disease, or if you're over 65, these medicines may be harmful, so you need to talk to your doctor before taking them. Don’t take aspirin because this medicine can affect your uric acid levels and make your gout last longer.

If NSAIDs aren't suitable for you, your doctor may prescribe a medicine called colchicine instead. Colchicine also reduces inflammation, but in a different way to NSAIDs. You may have side-effects from this medicine including diarrhea, but this can be reduced by taking lower doses.

Occasionally, your doctor may prescribe steroid tablets if you can't take NSAIDs or colchicine. Alternatively, he or she may recommend a steroid joint injection if you have gout in a large joint (such as your knee).
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