Corticosteroids for Gout
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Depending on the drug, steroids may be given intravenously, as pills, or as an injection.
How It Works
Why It Is Used
Corticosteroids may be used for:
- Gout attacks that are limited to a single joint.
- Gout attacks that do not respond to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or colchicine.
- People who cannot take NSAIDs or colchicine, such as those who have kidney disease or a history of serious ulcer disease and gastrointestinal bleeding.
- People who have congestive heart failure or take the blood-thinner warfarin or by people who are allergic to aspirin.
Corticosteroids should not be given to people who have a joint infection.
How Well It Works
Corticosteroids usually provide rapid relief from gout symptoms. Because of their potential side effects if used for a long time, corticosteroids are usually prescribed only for a short time.
Common short-term side effects include:
- Mood swings.
- Weight gain.
- Fluid retention.
- Very rounded (moon) face.
- Poor wound healing.
- Increased risk of infection.
- High blood pressure.
Uncommon short-term side effects include:
Long-term side effects include:
See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug Reference is not available in all systems.)
What To Think About
- Corticosteroids are most often used in people who are unable to take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or colchicine. If only one joint is affected, injection of corticosteroids into the joint may be most effective. If multiple joints are involved, corticosteroids may be injected into a vein or muscle or taken by mouth in pill form, in gradually decreasing doses.
- Corticosteroids should not be used when bacterial arthritis is present.
- People who have high blood pressure should monitor their pressure while they are using corticosteroids.
- People who have diabetes may need more medicine or insulin when they are using corticosteroids to treat their gout.
Last Revised: June 12, 2012
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