Gout is a form of arthritis that occurs owing to buildup of urate crystals in the joint. Elevated uric acid level in the blood increases formation of urate crystals that usually accumulate in the big toe joint, producing intense pain. Limiting consumption of high protein animal foods rich in purine, a substance that is metabolized into uric acid, reduces the risk of gout flare-ups.
When dietary modification is not sufficient for lowering the uric acid level in the blood and preventing gout attacks, medications that promote uric acid excretion or inhibit uric acid production are used for reducing the uric acid level and preventing gout attack.
While dietary changes and medications prevent recurrent gout attacks, the initial treatment for gout involves medications for reducing gouty arthritis pain and inflammation. Prednisone is a popular corticosteroid medication used in treatment of gout pain and inflammation.
When Is Prednisone Used for Gout Treatment?
Prednisone is not used as a first line treatment for acute gout attack. This corticosteroid medication is usually recommended to patients who cannot take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or the gout pain medication colchicine.
How Prednisone Treats Gout?
Prednisone mimics the hormone cortisol, a naturally occurring corticosteroid secreted by the adrenal glands. In the liver, prednisone is converted into its active form prednosolone. By suppressing the immune system, it reduces production of inflammatory immune substances that trigger inflammation and pain. This anti-inflammatory effect of prednisone provides fast relief from gout pain and inflammation during an acute gout attack.
Oral Prednisone for Gout Treatment
Prednisone can be taken orally or injected to the affected joint. Oral prednisone is available in the form of tablets and syrups. The strength of prednisone tablets range from 2.5 to 50 mg. The appropriate dose of the corticosteroid for treating gouty arthritis depends upon the severity of the pain and the patient’s age.
To minimize the risk of adverse side effects, usually low doses of the drug are used at the initial stage of treatment. Depending upon the response of the patient to the medication, the dose is adjusted to ensure optimum result. You should take prednisone pills with food. Prolonged intake of oral prednisone can cause serious side effects. The risk of adverse reactions of corticosteroid intake can be minimized by replacing oral medications with prednosolone injection, which is directly injected to the painful joint.
People Who Should Not Take Prednisone
Prednisone is not recommended for people with impaired liver function. As liver enzymes are needed to convert prednisone into its active form, insufficient liver enzyme will reduce the effectiveness of the drug in treating gout. It should not be used by pregnant and nursing women.
Dietary Changes During Prednisone Intake
A low sodium and high calcium and potassium diet is usually recommended while taking prednisone.
Side Effects of Prednisone
Although adverse reactions associated with prednisone intake rarely occurs by taking small doses of prednisone for a short time, nonetheless, it is advisable to be aware of the possible side effects of the drug such as dizziness, headache, mood changes, sleeping problems, acne, skin problems, weakness, excess hair growth and menstrual problems.