As if suffering from gout isn’t bad enough, new research presented this week at American College of Rheumatology’s annual scientific meeting in Atlanta adds insult to injury.
Researchers led by Dr. Tuhina Neogi of Boston University reviewed data from their study of more than 600 adults with gout. Although previous studies have suggested that long-term caffeine use might relieve gout pain, short-term caffeine used might bring it on.
In this study, people who drank more coffee, tea, or soda, were significantly more likely to have a gout attack, even after controlling for all the other drinks they had. More specifically, 3-4 caffeinated drinks within the 24 hours prior to a gout attack was associated with a 40 to 80 percent risk of recurrent gout.
And there’s more bad news for gout patients, but this is just for women. Another Boston University research team led by Dr. Hyon Choi presented 22 years’ worth of data from the Nurses’ Health Study showing that women who drank more than two fructose-rich beverages daily (such as orange juice and Atlanta’s lifeblood, Coke) were more than twice as likely to develop gout as those who drank less than one of these beverages per month.
The good news? Diet soda was not associated with any increased risk for gout. Phew! But what about the caffeine? Ok, here’s the deal: Women with gout should stock up on caffeine-free diet soda, at least until the next study comes out. And if I look hard enough, there might be a study about the benefits of chocolate for people with arthritis around here somewhere . . .
–Heidi Splete (@hsplete on twitter)