Merck Manual

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Drugs Used to Treat Gout

Drugs Used to Treat Gout


Some Side Effects


Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)

Upset stomach


Decreased kidney function

High potassium levels

Retention of sodium, potassium (rarely), and water

Sometimes swelling or high blood pressure

Used to treat an acute flare (sudden attack) or to prevent a flare

Should be avoided in people with kidney disease or in those taking blood thinners

Antigout drugs


Upset stomach and diarrhea

Suppression of blood cell production in the bone marrow (occurs very rarely if the drug is used properly)

Muscle pain and weakness (uncommon)

Interaction with many other drugs, sometimes causing severe side effects

Used to prevent and treat flares

Should be avoided or dose reduced with kidney disease


Prednisone (taken by mouth)

Retention of sodium, with swelling or high blood pressure

Elevated blood sugar

Multiple side effects if used long-term

Used to treat acute flares

Prednisolone tebutate or triamcinolone hexacetonide (taken by injection)



Infection (rarely)

Injected into the joint if only one or two joints are affected

Uricosuric drugs (drugs that increase uric acid secretion in the urine)


Rash (rare)

Nausea (rare)

Vomiting (rare)

Kidney stones

Can be used long-term to lower blood levels of uric acid to prevent flares

Drugs that block uric acid production


Upset stomach

Rash (which can rarely be very serious)

Decrease in the number of white blood cells (rare)

Liver damage (rare)

Can be used long-term to lower blood levels of uric acid to prevent flares and to remove crystals in the body or stones in the kidneys




Especially useful in people who cannot take allopurinol or in people whose blood uric acid is not sufficiently lowered by high doses of allopurinol


High risk of mobilization flare-up (particularly when used for the first time)

Allergic reactions with IV infusions

Used to dissolve deposits of uric acid rapidly in people who have had severe gout for several months