Practical steps in the diagnosis and management of gout

M J Jelley, R Wortmann
BioDrugs: Clinical Immunotherapeutics, Biopharmaceuticals and Gene Therapy 2000, 14 (2): 99-107
One of the earliest described conditions, gout continues to plague humanity. It is characterised by the deposition of monosodium urate crystals in the joints and soft tissue. The main clinical features of gout are hyperuricaemia, acute monoarticular arthritis, tophi and chronic arthritis, along with nephrolithiasis. Gout typically occurs in middle age and more commonly in men. Asymptomatic hyperuricaemia does not require treatment. The initial attack of acute gout usually affects a single joint, often the first metatarsal phalangeal joint. Definitive diagnosis requires demonstration of urate crystals in the joint fluid. Treatment of acute gout includes nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), colchicine and corticosteroids. The most important factor in success of treatment is how quickly therapy is begun after onset of symptoms. Drug treatment of hyperuricaemia includes allopurinol, sulfinpyrazone, probenecid and benzbromarone and should be used in patients with frequent gout attacks, tophi or urate nephropathy.

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