Systemic steroid therapy for acute gout: a clinical trial and review of the literature

Semin Arthritis Rheum. 1990 Jun;19(6):329-36. doi: 10.1016/0049-0172(90)90070-v.


Nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs are frequently used as initial therapy in acute gout. In select cases, however, colchicine has been recommended as an alternative therapy. A review of the literature raises significant concerns regarding the cost to benefit ratio of using colchicine in this setting. A survey of alternative forms of therapies showed few studies investigating the efficacy and side effects of a short course of oral steroids, and little support for this modality in standard textbooks. Our preliminary study suggests that a short course of oral corticosteroid therapy can be used effectively for acute gout when NSAIDs are contraindicated. The use of prednisone 30 to 50 mg or its equivalent initially, and gradually tapered over 10 days, results in clinical resolution without rebound arthropathy or steroid complications in most patients. As a result, we rarely use colchicine in the management of acute gout in our practice.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones / therapeutic use
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / therapeutic use
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Colchicine / therapeutic use
  • Gout / drug therapy*
  • Humans
  • Prospective Studies
  • Steroids / therapeutic use*


  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • Steroids
  • Colchicine