Certain Medications Can Cause Gout

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You already know that eating foods rich in purines like dried beans and liver can lead to a buildup of uric acid in the blood. But those aren’t the only culprits that contribute to gout. Certain medications used to treat other conditions may increase uric acid levels, too.

If you take one of the medications listed below and experience gout, it’s worth asking your doctor if there could be a connection.

Diuretics (Diuril, Saluron, Thalitone). These are commonly taken to help conditions such as high blood pressure and heart failure. Diuretics are the biggest troublemaker, boosting the risk of gout attacks by 20%. Diuretics are also called “water pills” because they help your body get rid of excess fluid. However, diuretics can decrease the kidneys’ ability to remove uric acid. As a result, uric acid levels in the blood may rise and lead to a gout attack.

Aspirin. The pain reliever may seem like a good idea for treating gout symptoms, but it can have the opposite effect. That’s because aspirin may prevent the kidneys from removing uric acid. Your doctor will prescribe other types of pain medications for treating gout.

Niacin. In prescription form, niacin, a form of vitamin B3, may help lower cholesterol levels. Lower doses of niacin are also found in dietary supplements. However, in very large quantities—3 grams or more per day—it can contribute to serious problems, including gout.

Levodopa (Sinemet and Stalevo). This medication helps control symptoms in people with Parkinson’s disease, but it also increases the level of uric acid in your body.

Cyclosporine (Gengraf, Neoral, Sandimmune). This drug is often given to people who have received an organ transplant to prevent rejection. It suppresses the immune system, but it can increase uric acid levels as well.

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Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS
Last Review Date: 2020 Jul 28
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