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HealthInfo Canterbury

Medications for gout

There are various treatments available to help relieve the pain and swelling of a gout attack. These include anti-inflammatories, colchicine and a class of drugs called corticosteroids, most often prednisone. Your doctor will discuss the medications with you and give you advice on what's most appropriate for you.

Preventative treatment

Doctors recommend that some people with gout (especially those who've had several attacks) take medication to prevent gout attacks. There are several medications available, but all have possible side effects. For more information, talk to your GP or pharmacist.


Allopurinol reduces the amount of uric acid in your body, but it can make a gout attack worse if you take it while you're having an attack. It can also cause more gout attacks in the first few months of taking it. So your doctor will also give you medication to reduce your pain and swelling for the first three to six months of taking allopurinol. If you're already on allopurinol and you have an attack, you should keep taking it. Your doctor will normally start you on a low dose and gradually increase it until you reach your target uric acid level.


Probenecid is used if you have side effects to allopurinol or if allopurinol doesn't lower your uric acid levels enough.


Febuxostat reduces the uric acid levels in your blood. It's only available for people who can't take allopurinol because of side effects or when allopurinol hasn't worked. You can't take it if you have heart disease. It can also cause liver damage so you'll need to have regular blood tests to monitor your liver during treatment.

On the next page: Eating & lifestyle advice for gout

Endorsed by rheumatologist, Department of Rheumatology, Immunology & Allergy, Canterbury DHB. Last reviewed December 2017.


See also:

Gout management plan

Page reference: 462

Review key: HIGOU-18727