Prescription NSAIDs Like Indomethacin for Gout Pain Relief

Quincy AdamGout Treatments

Pharmacist and Client in a Drugstore
If you’ve been diagnosed with gout, your doctor will probably recommend taking a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) if you’re having an acute attack. These medications may help reduce the swelling, tenderness, inflammation and pain associated with gout. There are many different types, some of which are available over-the-counter (without a prescription) and others that your doctor can prescribe.

Types of NSAIDs

Some commonly used over-the-counter versions are:

  •  Ibuprofen
  • Ketoprofen
  • Naproxen

NSAIDs can also be prescription medications. Some are the same medications you can get over-the-counter, but they’re in stronger doses. Don’t keep taking an over-the-counter version if your doctor has also prescribed one of these medicines, since it could increase your chances of having side effects.

Commonly prescribed NSAIDs include:

  • Flurbiprofen
  • Ibuprofen
  • Indomethacin
  • Ketoprofen
  • Naproxen

Indomethacin is often the first choice to treat gout. It’s usually very effective and works quickly. A 2-7 day course of treatment is typically used, and many people usually begin to feel relief from pain and inflammation within 24 hours, often sooner. Sometimes older patients can experience confusion when they take indomethacin, so your doctor may help you find another medication instead.

Although this type of drug can be very effective, they, like any medication, can cause side effects. This is true even if you’re using an over-the-counter drug. Your risk of side effects is greater if you use any of these medications long term (longer than 30 days).

They aren’t right for everyone

Talk to your doctor about your use of these types of medications for gout if any of the following applies to you, since they may not be recommended if you:

  • Are pregnant or breastfeeding
  • Take oral medication to treat diabetes, blood thinners, or aspirin (these types of medicines can interact with NSAIDs.)
  • Have kidney or liver problems or high blood pressure (NSAIDs can make these conditions worse, so if you take these medicines, you may be closely monitored by your doctor.)

Side effects

Many people can safely take this type of medicine to help treat their gout, but they, like any drug, have some risk of side effects.

Common side effects you need to watch for include:

  • Stomach problems like bleeding, ulcers, and nausea (Your risk of bleeding is greater if you regularly drink more than three alcoholic drinks a day.)
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart problems
  • Kidney damage
  • Rashes
  • Fluid retention that causes swelling in your extremities (feet, ankles, hands)
  • Headaches
  • Ringing in your ears
  • Depression
  • Confusion (especially with indomethacin)

If you’re taking an NSAID long-term to help treat gout, talk to your doctor about any side effects you may experience. Also make sure that your doctor knows about any long-term health conditions you have, such as high blood pressure, which may cause particular concerns. NSAIDs may be only a part of the recommended treatment for this disease, which can also include diet and lifestyle changes and other medications as prescribed by your physician.