Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Substance of Crystals in Joints Mark Gout Type

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Substance of Crystals in Joints Mark Gout Type

Article excerpt

Dear Dr. Donohue: I am 79, and live in Florida. My daughter in Chicago sends me your column. I'm writing you about the item on pseudogout and colchicine, the medicine for it. I don't like medicines, and always check on possible side effects. I cannot find colchicine on the store shelves. Clerks never heard of it. What did you say about the medicine, side effects, dose, etc.?

Colchicine is a generic drug name. You won't find it on store counters; it must be prescribed.

Pseudogout mimics regular gout. There's the sudden swelling and joint pain, usually of the knee. In regular gout, the big toe is usually the site of first pain. The main area where the two differ is in the substance of the crystals. In regular gout, urate crystals form. In pseudogout, the crystals are calcium. Much pseudogout inflammation responds to the simple anti-inflammatory drugs, such as aspirin or indomethacin. Severe, recurring cases can demand drainage of the joint or injection of cortisone into the inflamed area. The earlier reference regarded a gentleman who had severe recurring pseudogout episodes. Colchicine is a drug option in such cases. Doctors usually prescribe colchicine daily in low doses and with caution. Diarrhea can be an unpleasant side effect. You would have to see if your doctor sees wisdom in having you take colchicine. In truth, the drug does not help prevent pseudgout attacks in every user, as it usually does in ordinary gout. Dear Dr. Donohue: I am a 60-year-old postmenopausal woman. I took estrogen and progestin for several years. Since stopping two months ago, I have been getting headaches almost daily. They are one-sided, on the right, and relieved by aspirin. Do you think there's any connection between my withdrawal and the headaches? Is there a possibility of a blood clot, an aneurysm or tumor? You became chemically menopausal the day you discontinued your hormone replacement therapy. …

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