Painful gout flares are not only uncomfortable, but they may limit mobility and make it difficult to carry out daily tasks. While certain gout medications are prescribed to reduce uric acid buildup, they don’t treat acute gout symptoms caused by flares. Your rheumatologist may prescribe prednisone for gout to manage pain in the short term.
Why is Prednisone for Gout Prescribed?
Prednisone is a corticosteroid, a medication designed to combat inflammation. Like other corticosteroids (hydrocortisone, cortisone), it can treat a variety of inflammatory conditions, both acute and chronic. Corticosteroids mimic cortisol, a human-made hormone that controls how your body responds to stress.
In the short term, cortisol can help reduce acute inflammation, which is how prednisone for gout helps to decrease pain caused by gout flares. Because long-term use of prednisone can cause secondary side effects, it’s usually prescribed when NSAIDs aren’t sufficient to combat gout pain.
Who Should Not Take Prednisone for Gout?
Prednisone for gout pain can be a great option as a second line of treatment, or for those who can’t take NSAIDs for gout pain. However, individuals with certain medical conditions may not be good candidates for the medication. You should tell your rheumatologist if you have any of the following conditions:
- History of allergic reaction to prednisone
- Pregnant or planning to become pregnant
- High blood pressure
- Active infection
Prednisone Dosage for Gout
Your dose of prednisone for gout will be determined by your rheumatologist based on your weight, symptoms, and medical history. Typically, a starting prednisone dose is around 30 to 40mg daily. The entire dose may be taken in pill form once daily, usually in the morning, which helps to reduce inflammation all day. However, you should discuss your ideal dosage timing requirements with your rheumatologist.
It’s recommended to take prednisone with food to avoid stomach irritation or nausea.
Side Effects of Prednisone for Gout
Some individuals who are prescribed prednisone for gout may experience side effects. Many are mild and usually resolve once the course of prednisone is complete. These may include:
- Abdominal pain or nausea
- Weight gain
- Insomnia or restlessness
- Change in appetite
Taking prednisone for longer periods of time may increase the risk of experiencing prednisone side effects. Your rheumatologist will work with you to determine the best treatment length for your symptoms and try to reduce potential side effects.
In rare cases, it’s possible to experience more severe side effects. If you experience any of the following symptoms while taking prednisone, you should contact your provider immediately, or visit your closest emergency room:
- Skin rash, itching, hives, swelling, or other signs of an allergic reaction
- Infection or high fever
- Black or tarry stools
- Extreme fatigue or weakness
- Changes in your heart rate
How Quickly Does Prednisone for Gout Work?
Prednisone is a fast-acting medication. Typically, it will take only a few days to start noticing the effects of prednisone for a gout attack. It’s possible to start noticing relief in a matter of hours after taking the medication.
Your rheumatologist or provider will review the effectiveness of the medication at your follow-up visit. Be prepared to discuss any changes you’ve experienced, including reduced pain or side effects.
Remember, prednisone does not treat the root cause of gout. You will likely require additional medications to help manage uric acid levels in your body.
If you are currently prescribed prednisone for gout, but aren’t experiencing pain relief, or if you are looking for a better way to manage your gout symptoms, our team at Summit Rheumatology is here to help.
Give us a call at (480) 494-2770 or send us a message to schedule your in-person or virtual visit.