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 the doctors' instructions carefully. It may actually cause a flare up of gout when started, so usually it is started under the 'cover' of other medicines that reduce this risk, such as anti-inflammatories.
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 www.alcohol.gov.au for Australian Government guidelines on recommended alcohol intake)
- gradually losing weight if you are overweight, while avoiding crash diets or starvation diets
- eating a healthy, balanced diet
- drinking plenty of water, especially when at risk of dehydration, such as when you are sick or travelling by air
- making dietary changes, such as cutting down on meat and oily fish may be helpful
Last reviewed: December 2017