How to Treat Gout with Prednisone

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Gout is a form of arthritis that is caused by too much uric acid in the body. The pain, swelling and inflammation that signals a gout attack can be sudden, intense and, though short-lived, very painful. Gout usually strikes smaller joints, such as those in the hands, arms, toes and ankles. NSAIDs are used to control the pain, but do not always provide adequate relief. Predisone is a type of medication called a corticosteroid that reduces inflammation and can be used to treat gout.

Things You'll Need

  • List of medications
  • Oral prednisone
  • Prednisone injections

Speak to your doctor about your current gout treatment and to determine if you are an ideal candidate for using prednisone. Prednisone may not be safe for pregnant women to use and can alter the effectiveness of medications such as anti-coagulants (blood thinners) and aspirin. Make sure your doctor has a list of all of the medications and supplements you are taking.

Determine with your physician, based on your pain level and your body's response to other medications, if prednisone will be used as a regular regimen or as a short-term solution to a flare up of gout. This will help your doctor make the decision about whether to give you an injection of prednisone in the affected joint, or to prescribe an oral form of the drug.

Ask your doctor to use an injectable form of prednisone if only one of your joints is affected by gout. A one-time injection carries fewer side effects and may be more effective in managing your pain if there is only one joint to be treated. A shot of prednisone for small joints such as elbows and toes usually contains 10 milligrams to 40 milligrams of the medication.

Begin oral prednisone if your damaged joint is not easily accessible for injection, or if you suffer from gout in more than one area of your body. Dosages begin at 0.5 milligrams for every 2.2 pounds of body weight.

Taper your prednisone use under your doctor's supervision. Prednisone should not be used as a long-term solution at high doses due to the many side effects associated with the drug. Your doctor may put you on a daily or weekly tapering plan, in which you will take incrementally less of the medication until you no longer need it.

Be aware of the side effects of prednisone as you use it to treat your gout. Weight gain, a redness of the face, as well as a typical "moon face" shape to the face are common side effects. Peptic ulcer and muscle weakness can also occur. More serious side effects include dizziness, seizures, hypertension and heart failure.

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