Medical Q&As

Aspirin - safe for gout?

I suffer occasionally from gout. I have always wondered why all the medical opinions say that aspirin is contraindicated as a general painkiller while having an episode of gout. Can you explain this?

Aspirin can be used to treat gout but the doses used are much higher than those available OTC (over the counter). Although high dose aspirin can be used it is rarely recommended because there are many safer drugs available, which do not carry the same degree of risk of gastric bleeding that exists with high dose aspirin therapy. Low dose aspirin, such as would be available OTC, is contraindicated because it can inhibit the excretion of uric acid, which leads to increased levels of uric acid in the body. Uric acid is the chemical that crystallizes in the joints giving rise to the acute inflammation that we recognize as gout. In summary, low dose aspirin is not recommended because it can trigger acute gout.