How ibuprofen can relieve your pain during a gout attack

Ibuprofen was first invented and patented as a drug in 1961 by Andrew RM Dunlop and used as a treatment for rheumatoid arthritis first in the UK in 1969 and then in the United States in 1974. It first started as a prescription drug but then after many trials, studies and a good tolerability level in the general population it became a over the counter drug or OTC in pharmacies worldwide as well as your local grocery store.

Ibuprofen is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug or NSAID and comes in a variety of names we all are familiar with like Advil, Motrin and Nurofen. Compared to other NSAIDs its potential for causing serious side effects like stomach ulcers, heart attacks or strokes is believed to be significantly less, although its effectiveness in relieving inflammation and pain is also believed to be less than that of other NSAIDs.

Ibuprofen is used primarily for fever (including post-immunisation fever), mild-moderate pain (including pain relief after surgery), painful periods and inflammatory diseases such as osteoarthritis, juvenile idiopathic arthritis, dental pain, headache, migraine and rheumatoid arthritis.[1]Also remember that aspirin is an NSAID, but is associated with a higher risk for gout and should be avoided.

Ibuprofen is very effective in treating your pain from a gout attack. It may reduce your gout pain but does nothing to reduce uric acid or reduce the crystals in your joints. It may help increase your mobility rather quickly and by being more mobile, it may also help you heal from your gout attack much quicker.

Any type of arthritis including gout heals better and hurts less with some mild exercise. I personally have used it many times to remove the edge off from my painful toe and ibuprofen should always be available in your medicine cabinet especially if you don’t have colchicine readily available or prescribed NSAIDs since it is over the counter medicine. As long as you don’t have renal disease you should be fine in taking ibuprofen but make sure to check with your doctor beforehand.

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How to take ibuprofen 

You can take ibuprofen either orally through tablets or liquid and now there’s also a gel or cream that you can use to rub into the affected joint for some relief. If you take tablets make sure to not take it more than 4 times in a day and usually a tablet consists of 200 to 400 mg for a maximum daily dose of 1200 mg. Only take a higher dose with your doctor’s permission. Never exceed the prescribed dosage and wait at least 4 hours in between tablets.

If you experience side effects it is best for you to consult with your doctor and most side effects relate to stomach problems. Make sure to first eat something before taking ibuprofen and if you take it topically like in the cream or gel, there’s less chance of stomach upset.


[1] Joint Formulary Committee (2013). British National Formulary (BNF) (65 ed.). London, UK: Pharmaceutical Press. pp. 665, 671

Posted by Spiro Koulouris

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