9 Gout Risk Factors Pharmacists Should Know

NOVEMBER 17, 2015
Rachel Lutz
What gout risk factors should pharmacists be informing their patients about?

Gout, a painful form of arthritis, results from uric acid build-up in the body. This accumulation of uric acid, which stems from the breakdown of purines, can lead to sharp uric acid crystal deposits in joints, lumps under the skin that form because of deposits, and kidney stones, according to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS).

Uric acid can build up in the blood when the body increases production of it, when the kidneys do not remove enough of it, and when a patient consumes food and drinks that are high in purines.

Nine risk factors for gout that pharmacists can inform their patients about are:

1.     A family history of gout
2.     Male gender
3.     Being overweight
4.     Excessive alcohol intake
5.     An enzyme defect that inhibits the body from being able to break down purines
6.     Exposure to lead in the environment
7.     Previous history of organ transplants
8.     A medication regimen that includes diuretics, aspirin, cyclosporine, levodopa, or niacin
9.     Eating foods with high levels of purine

·       Certain meat, seafood, and vegetables should be limited. Alcohol should also be avoided.

In order to stay healthy, patients with gout need to adhere to their medications, NIAMS emphasizes.

Patients with gout should also consult with their pharmacist and other health care providers about the medications and vitamins they take. In turn, pharmacists can counsel their patients about the importance of a healthy diet and regular exercise.

Some symptoms of gout include hyperuricemia, uric acid crystals in joint fluid, more than 1 attack of acute arthritis, arthritis that appears in 1 day, or arthritis that occurs in 1 joint (often the toe, ankle, or knee), according to NIAMS.
 
Gout can be treated with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), corticosteroids such as prednisone, or colchicine.

New research is being conducted on which NSAIDs are most effective, as well as the best dosages of gout medications. Scientists are also looking into how food, vitamins, genetics, and environmental factors can affect or cause gout. 


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