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Gout prevention

Some people with gout experience recurrent attacks. Fortunately, there are medications doctors can prescribe that help prevent further attacks of gout. These medicines work by lowering uric acid levels in the blood. They need to be taken daily, starting once the initial attack of gout has subsided. The most commonly used is called allopurinol; it helps to lower uric acid levels by reducing the body’s production of uric acid.

When starting allopurinol it is important to follow doctors’ instructions carefully. It may actually cause a flare up of gout when started, but this is not a reason to stop taking the medication. Other medications that help prevent an attack of gout are febuxostat, sulfinpyrazone and probenecid.

The chances of having further attacks of gout can also be reduced by taking some sensible lifestyle measures, such as:

  • reducing alcohol intake, especially binge drinking (see for Australian Government guidelines on recommended alcohol intake)
  • gradually losing weight if you are overweight, while avoiding crash diets or starvation diets
  • drinking plenty of water.

It is also possible, but not certain, that reducing the amount of foods containing the chemicals from which uric acid is made may help.  These meats, seafood, vegetables and supplements are listed in this gout article.

Source: Arthritis Research UK (Self-help and daily living with gout), Arthritis Victoria (Gout and Diet), NHS Choices UK (Gout).

Last reviewed: August 2015

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