What is Indomethacin Gout Medication?
Indomethacin is not used solely for gout. It is a drug in the group called “non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs” (NSAIDs) and is widely used to reduce swelling, fever, stiffness, inflammation and pain, caused by arthritis, gout, bursitis, tendinitis, and ankylosing spondylitis.
It is probably the most commonly used drug-based medication to relieve gout symptoms. Brand names are Indocin and Indocin-SR. Indomethacin is available in capsule, slow-release capsule, oral suspension and suppository forms.
How Does Indomethacin Reduce Gout Symptoms?
Indomethacin works by helping to block or inhibit the production of prostaglandin molecules that are naturally produced by our bodies’cells when body tissue is damaged. This damage occurs in gout victims due to the presence of urate crystals in the joints and surrounding tissue.
White blood cells flood the damaged site in order to limit and help repair the damage. Prostaglandins are produced during this process resulting in pain, inflammation, swelling, stiffness, etc. This is the body’s natural inflammatory process. By inhibiting prostaglandins production, Indomethacin helps to reduce these symptoms.
Capsules come in 25 mg and 50 mg. Sustained release capsules in 75 mg. Oral suspension 25 mg / ml, and suppositories 50 mg.
The recommended dose for adults is 50 to 200 mg per day. Never increase or decrease the dose or use it for less or longer than prescribed unless your doctor has told you to. Never go over the total daily dosage. And do not lie down for up to 30 minutes after taking a dose.
Your doctor will advise on the actual preparation and dosage depending on your particular case. He / she will normally start you at the lowest possible dosage for your case and over the shortest possible timescale in order to reduce the risk of side effects such as bleeding (see below). Take the medication with a meal or directly after a meal to help protect your stomach. Some doctors often prescribe certain drugs or antacids to help with this too.
What Are the Side Effects of Indomethacin?
The most common side effects are:-
- upset stomach
In the event that you get any of these side effects and they get worse, or even if they just persist, you should contact your physician.
Indomethacin also has some more serious side effects that you should be aware of. Contact your doctor if you suffer any of the following:-
- unexplained / sudden weight gain
- swelling of hands or feet
- mood swings
- difficulty swallowing
- unexplained hearing changes (e.g. tinnitus)
Indomethacin can increase your risk of heart attack and stroke as well as other circulatory problems. And it can also cause bleeding and even perforation of the stomach and intestines. So that if you suffer any of the following symptoms you must stop taking the medication and seek urgent medical attention:-
- stiff neck
- shortness of breath / trouble breathing
- chest pain
- slurred speech
- weakness in any part of the body
- extreme tiredness
- vision problems
- balance problems
- change in urination flow
- dark colored urine
- yellowing of the skin
- yellow eyes
- blood in stools
- severe stomach pain
- swelling of the lips / mouth / tongue / throat
The lists of possible side effects above are not complete. So if you suffer from any other side effects that are not listed here, you must contact your doctor or pharmacist immediately. For more serious issues seek urgent medical help.
Who Should Use / Not Use Indomethacin for Gout?
At all times you should seek your physician’s advice before taking any medication, and be guided by them. Your doctor will make a professional assessment of your suitability for Indomethacin before prescribing it for gout. However, before that, you should ensure that you tell your doctor if you:-
- are allergic to Indomethacin, aspirin, other NSAIDs (e.g. Iboprufen, Naproxen, etc.)
- have other allergies
- are taking any other drugs
- are taking herbal products, over-the-counter medicines, supplements, etc.
- are pregnant
- are planning to become pregnant
- are breastfeeding
Also, if you have or have had:-
- heart or circulatory problems
- stomach ulcers / bleeding
- high blood pressure
- blood clot
- liver or kidney disease
- nasal polyps
You should not use Indomethacin if you are allergic to it or aspirin or other NSAIDs. You should not use it directly before or after heart bypass surgery. You physician will weigh-up the benefits against the possible side effects and decide whether or not Indomethacin (Indocin) is right for your particular case.