Treatment Options for Gout

Dtsch Arztebl Int. 2017 Mar 31;114(13):215-222. doi: 10.3238/arztebl.2017.0215.


Background: 1-2% of adults in Germany suffer from gout. Gout is one of the few rheumatological diseases that can be cured. It arises through the deposition of uric acid crystals in joints as a result of hyperuricemia. Painful redness and swelling of the affected joints are typical findings. Multiple pertinent guidelines and treatment recommendations have been published, but there is reason to believe that patients with gout are not always treated accordingly.

Methods: This review is based on relevant publications from the years 2000-2016 that were retrieved by a selective search in the Cochrane and PubMed databases.

Results: In a person with normal renal function, asymptomatic hyperuricemia is not an indication for treatment to lower the serum uric acid level. The drugs of first choice for acute gouty arthritis are nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs (NSAID), corticosteroids, and colchicine. Treatment with xanthine oxidase inhibitors (XOI) or uricosuric drugs is indicated for patients with a recurrent or severe course; the target uric acid value is <6 mg/dL. Long-term treatment should be initiated only after resolution of the acute attack. For patients with refractory gout, lesinurad (approved in February 2016) in combination with XOI is a new treatment option that can be considered. Comprehensive patient education and counseling is an important component of the treatment of patients with gout. Regular laboratory follow-up is necessary as well.

Conclusion: The prevalence of gout is rising around the world. Patients with gout could benefit greatly from consistent implementation of the existing treatment guidelines and recommendations. In the future, controlled trials should be conducted to determine the best time to start treatment and the optimal target level for the serum uric acid concentration in terms of a risk/benefit analysis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Germany
  • Gout / drug therapy*
  • Gout Suppressants / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Hyperuricemia
  • Uric Acid / blood


  • Gout Suppressants
  • Uric Acid