When a new drug hits the market, doctors are often eager to prescribe it even if it doesn’t work any better than older medications.
That’s because they are influenced by Big Pharma’s marketing tactics. Drug reps flood doctors’ offices with freebies. They offer free meals, merchandise, or even cash in the form of “consulting fees.”
Big Pharma pushes new drugs because they are more expensive than older medications…and far more profitable.
That’s what’s happening with a new gout medication.
Not only is it pricier (45 times more expensive, to be exact)…but new research shows it can lead to a heart attack.1
People with gout face a higher risk of heart and chronic kidney disease than people without gout. So they need to be careful about taking drugs that affect these organs.
The study followed 6,190 gout patients. Researchers found that gout sufferers taking a relatively new drug called febuxostat (Uloric) had a higher risk of death.2
Their chances of dying from cardiovascular disease was 34% higher with febuxostat compared with patients taking allopurinol. That’s the standard old-line gout drug that has been on the market for decades. The risk of death from any cause while taking febuxostat was 22% higher.
Dr. William White of the University of Connecticut School of Medicine led the study. He says he doesn’t know why febuxostat causes heart problems. He just knows it does. “The results are entirely unexpected and we don’t have a mechanistic explanation for them,” he said.
The study was published recently in the New England Journal of Medicine. It was also presented at an annual meeting of the American College of Cardiology.
In addition to being safer for your heart, a 2017 study found that the older drug allopurinol is easier on your kidneys. It showed that allopurinol users had a 35% lower risk of kidney disease than patients taking febuxostat.3
Your Foot is on Fire
Gout is a form of arthritis. It causes intense pain in the big toe and other joints. The pain is so excruciating that some patients describe it as feeling like their foot is on fire.
About 8 million Americans suffer from it. Gout is caused by uric acid crystals accumulating in joints. The big toe joint is the most common site. But it can pop up in your ankle, heel, knee, wrist, or fingers.
The vast majority (92.5%) of gout patients take allopurinol. Only 7.5% take febuxostat, but sales were steadily rising before the heart study.4
Some people find they can get through a flare-up by using natural, non-drug remedies instead of medications.
5 Natural Ways to Prevent Gout Flare-Ups
- Steam Your Greens. Leafy greens are among the most nutritious foods. But some are high in oxalic acid. Eating too much of them can lead to higher levels of uric acid. That could mean a gout attack.But don’t stop eating your greens. Just don’t eat them raw. Gently steaming spinach, kale, collard greens, and Swiss chard is a great way to reduce oxalic acid. Be sure to drain the veggies and let them dry after steaming. The oxalic acid can accumulate in the leftover water.Buying organic produce may also help reduce inflammation–and chances of an encounter with gout–by lowering your exposure to toxins.
- Eat Tart Cherries: Preventing inflammation is important for avoiding a gout attack. But don’t rely on NSAIDs like ibuprofen and naproxen to do it. One study found that eating just a half cup of tart cherries each day can reduce the frequency of gout attacks by 35%. People who took tart cherry extract had even more impressive results. They saw a 45% reduction in gout attacks.The anthocyanin that gives tart cherries their red color also helps prevent inflammation. It may also lower the amount of uric acid in your blood–another important factor in preventing gout. If you can’t find fresh tart cherries, you can buy organic juice and natural extract online.
- Eliminate High-Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS): The fructose in HFCS causes your uric acid levels to rise.5 It may also make it harder for your body to process and eliminate this acid. This causes a buildup that can lead to a gout attack.One study found that men who drink two or more soft drinks a day sweetened with HFCS have an 85% higher risk of developing gout.7 But it’s not just soda. Look out for fruit juices–even the “healthy” ones–that use HFCS as a main ingredient.
- Limit Alcohol: Drinking boosts your uric acid levels. One study found that subjects who drank the most beer and liquor raised the uric acid content of their blood by up to 60%.4 In fact, for every 10 grams of alcohol you consume in one day, your gout risk may go up by 17%.8To put that in real world terms, there’s about 14 grams of alcohol in a single shot of most hard liquors.9 Though some studies suggest drinking wine may lower your risk, it’s probably best to avoid it if you’re prone to gout flare ups.
- Supplement with Celery Seed: It’s an ancient Indian medicine used to treat colds, flu, and poor digestion. But it may also help prevent a gout attack.Celery seed is a diuretic. It helps your body pass water by increasing urine output.10 This may also help you flush out uric acid and keep it from building up in your joints. The antioxidant content of these seeds may also help prevent inflammation that can bring on gout.Celery seed supplements are available at health food stores and online.
If you suffer from gout, taking a risky drug should be your last—not your first—resort. Instead, try these natural remedies. Not only are they effective, but they’ll keep your heart and kidneys safe.
Editor’s Note: There are powerful, natural solutions that can help you conquer arthritis pain…Like the desert herb that may replace pain prescriptions for both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
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