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Systemic corticosteroids for acute gout

  • Review
  • Intervention




Gout is one of the most frequently occurring rheumatic diseases, worldwide. Given the well-known drawbacks of the regular treatments for acute gout (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), colchicine), systemic corticosteroids might be safe alternatives.


To assess the efficacy and safety of systemic corticosteroids in the treatment of acute gout in comparison with placebo, NSAIDs, colchicine, other active drugs, other therapies, or no therapy.

Search methods

Searches were done in the following electronic databases: Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) (The Cochrane Library 2007); MEDLINE (1966 to 2007) through PubMed; EMBASE (1974 to 2007); Web of Science (1975 to 2007); LILACS (1986 to 2007); and databases of ongoing trials (up to April 2007).

Selection criteria

Randomized controlled trials and controlled clinical trials investigating the use of systemic corticosteroids in the treatment of acute gout were included.

Data collection and analysis

Two review authors decided independently which trials to include. The same review authors also collected the data in a standardised form and assessed the methodological quality of the trial using validated criteria. When possible, continuous and dichotomous data were summarised statistically.

Main results

Three head to head trials involving 148 patients (74 systemic corticosteroids; 74 comparator drugs) were included. Placebo-controlled trials were not found. In the studies, different kinds of systemic corticosteroids and different kinds of control drugs were used, both administered in different routes. Intramuscular triamcinolone acetonide was compared respectively to oral indomethacine, and intramuscular adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH); oral prednisolone (together with a single intramuscular diclophenac injection) was compared to oral indomethacine (together with a single placebo injection). Outcome measurements varied: average number of days until total relief of signs, mean decrease of pain per unit of time in mm on a visual analogue scale (VAS) - during rest and activity. In the triamcinolone-indomethacine trial the clinical joint status was used as an additional outcome. Clinically relevant differences between the studied systemic corticosteroids and the comparator drugs were not found; important safety problems attributable to the used corticosteroids were not reported. The quality of the three studies was graded as very low to moderate. Statistical pooling of results was not possible.

Authors' conclusions

There is inconclusive evidence for the efficacy and effectiveness of systemic corticosteroids in the treatment of acute gout. Patients with gout did not report serious adverse effects from systemic corticosteroids, when used short term.








搜尋包括Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) (The Cochrane Library 2007); 由PubMed 搜尋MEDLINE (1966 to 2007) EMBASE (1974 to 2007) eb of Science (1975 to 2007); LILACS (1986 to 2007); and databases of ongoing trials (到2007年4月)。






包括了3個直接比較研究包含148例病患,其中74位為全身性類固醇注射,74位為比較藥物。這三項研究中並未發現安慰劑對照控制試驗。其研究包含不同類固醇、不同非類固醇消炎止痛藥、不同施用途徑。其中肌肉注射triamcinolone acetonide與口服indomethacine、肌肉注射adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH)比較;口服prednisolone (同時單一肌肉注射一次diclophenac) 與口服indomethacine (同時肌肉注射一次安慰劑)。這三項研究結果測量指標不同:包括了到表徵完全緩解天數、在休息及活動時單位時間內以視覺類比量表VAS (visual analogue scale) 測量單位時間內(分鐘)平均減少的疼痛。在肌肉注射triamcinolone acetonide研究,臨床關節狀況也是測量指標。並未發現肌肉注射類固醇與其他比較藥物治療,有臨床有意義差別,用類固醇的重要安全問題並未被報告。這三項研究的品質認為是低到中等。且無法結合作統合分析。





此翻譯計畫由臺灣國家衛生研究院(National Health Research Institutes, Taiwan)統籌。


全身性類固醇治療急性痛風。 此Cochrane回顧摘要了我們所知道的有關全身性類固醇治療急性痛風效果的研究。這項回顧表明,在痛風病患:全身性類固醇可能會略有改善病人的疼痛和不便殘疾。不過,這可能是偶然發生的,沒有確切有關副作用和併發症的資訊。只有少數患者口服類固醇治療有報告輕微副作用。 什麼是痛風,以及全身性類固醇是什麼? 痛風是一種突然的,非常疼痛的關節發炎(關節炎)。它通常會影響大腳趾。因尿酸結晶造成的發炎,導致腫脹和發紅的關節,並使移動,甚至觸摸都會疼痛。全身性類固醇是皮質類固醇藥物,模仿的是自己的身體天然產生的皮質類固醇,並且可能有助於減輕腫脹,發紅及關節疼痛。全身性類固醇可藉由藥丸或醫生注射給予。

Plain language summary

Systemic corticosteroids for acute gout

This summary of a Cochrane review presents what we know from research about the effect of systemic corticosteroids for acute gout. The review shows that in people with gout:

- systemic corticosteroids may slightly improve patients' assessment of pain and disability. However, this could have occurred by chance;
- there is no precise information about side effects and complications. Only a minority of the patients treated with the steroid oral prednisolone reported minor side effects.

What is gout, and what are systemic corticosteroids?

Gout is a sudden, very painful joint inflammation (arthritis). It usually affects the big toe. The inflammation, which is caused by urate crystals, leads to swelling and redness of the joint, and makes it painful to move or even to touch.
Systemic corticosteroids are drugs that imitate the corticosteroids that are naturally produced by your own body and may help reduce swelling, redness and pain in joints. Systemic corticosteroids come in a pill form or as an injection given by your doctor.