Managing problem gout

A G Fam
Annals of the Academy of Medicine, Singapore 1998, 27 (1): 93-9
For the management of acute gouty arthritis, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are the drugs of choice. In recent years, the use of colchicine has declined because of its frequent adverse reactions, and its reduced efficacy when administered more than 24 hours after onset of an acute attack. Intra-articular corticosteroid therapy (e.g. methylprednisolone acetate) is indicated for the treatment of acute mono or oligoarticular gouty arthritis in aged patients, and in those with co-morbid conditions contraindicating therapy with either NSAIDs or colchicine. Oral corticosteroids (e.g. prednisone), and both parenteral corticotrophin (ACTH) and corticosteroids (e.g. intramuscular triamcinolone acetonide) are valuable, relatively safe alternate treatment modalities in those with polyarticular attacks. For the treatment of hyperuricaemia and chronic gouty arthritis, allopurinol is the preferred urate-lowering drug. Its toxicity in elderly individuals, those with renal impairment, and in cyclosporine-treated transplant patients can be minimised by adjusting the initial dose according to the patient's creatinine clearance. In those experiencing cutaneous reactions to allopurinol, cautious desensitisation to the drug can be achieved using a schedule of gradually increasing doses. The therapeutic usefulness of uricosuric drugs is limited by the presence of renal impairment, occurrence of intolerable side-effects, or concomitant intake of salicylates. They are particularly indicated in patients allergic to allopurinol and in those with massive tophi requiring combined therapy with both allopurinol and a uricosuric.

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