Sunday, November 04, 2007

More pills

Well. I just started on a new medicine yesterday, this one is called Allopurinol to bring down uric acid levels and to prevent gout attacks.

I did a lot, a lot of research on this one before starting it and talked to several pharmacists, and my rheumatologist and my attending physician a couple of times before I cautiously took my first dose.

The chance of side effects are small, about 3 % or less for a severe skin rash and a less than 1 % of life-threatening adverse reactions. I had to make sure that the benefits outweighed the risks. My research and talking with the pharmacists and doctors showed me that yes, the benefits do outweigh the risks in my case since my uric acid levels are so high, and the gout pain will not stay away. The gout would only evolve into "tophi gout" where one gets big lumps on hands, feet, ears and even internal organs and these "tophi" deposits ooze a white, chalky substance that is pretty gross. I don't have that yet, nor do I ever want it. But women more often than men develop tophi in about 3-10 years after the onset of gout attacks.

The most common side effect of the drug is triggering acute gout attacks in the first few weeks after starting the drug. I was hoping to avoid this, but yesterday afternoon I started feeling tingling in my toe joints which worsened as the evening wore on, and when I took off my socks when getting ready for bed I found I had two BRIGHT RED and sore toe joints. :( Today, after my second dose, the pain is worsening. I am told that I have to just get through it, because once the uric acid levels lower, the gout attacks will lessen and eventually go away.

It also makes me sleepy. That is a normal side effect and that should go away in time, also. I hope I can come off of this once my uric acid levels normalize because it makes me nervous being on something that is so potentially toxic. (Poodles, I know you are on strong stuff, too. Doesn't it make you nervous?)

Anyway, I am checking around online for some liver health information about maintaining a healthy liver during drug therapy. Any of my readers have any recommendations or know of foods and natural things that can help?

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