Mercy's Dr. Marc Leavey Discusses Treatment Of Gout In Women

August 5, 2013
Dr. Leavey talking on camera

Mercy internist Dr. Marc Leavey explains gout and its treatment with crew from WBAL-TV11 News

The number of Americans with gout has increased over the past few decades, but there are some very successful treatments available for sufferers.

Gout is a very painful type of inflammatory arthritis from which about 4 percent of Americans now suffer.

Josie Walters, 88, said her foot was hurting so bad at one point that she was having trouble walking.

"I went to see my foot doctor because my little toe next to the big one was hurting me, and I told her that my toe was very sore but my nails were OK. She said, 'You've probably got the gout,'" Walters said.

She visited Mercy internist Dr. Marc Leavey of Lutherville Personal Physicians, who said the foot doctor was right.

"Gout is a type of inflammatory arthritis that is caused by the crystallization of uretic acid within the joint cavity," Dr. Leavey explained.

According to Dr. Leavey, gout is as common among women as men. It can occur in any joint in the body, but most often it happens in the big toe.

"Classic symptoms of gout are pain and inflammation, redness and swelling of the joint and incredible pain. Some early pictures showed the pain of gout looking like a crab had grabbed the toe in his claw, it hurts that bad," Dr. Leavey said.

But people don't have to live with the pain. There are treatments.

"Classically, there are two major options for treatment when you have a gout attack. One of them is a medication called cultrazine, which is used to stop the attack in its tracks," Dr. Leavey said. "Another class of drugs is used for maintenance to prevent attacks. These are drugs like allopurinol and probenecid, as well as some newer drugs on the market."

Walters said the medication she's taking has made a big difference.

"As soon as it was out of my big toe, I never had it again," she said.

Following a special diet can help, too.


Dan Collins - Senior Director of Media Relations at Mercy Medical Center

Dan Collins, Senior Director of Media Relations

Email: Office: 410-332-9714 Cell: 410-375-7342

About Mercy

Founded in 1874, Mercy Medical Center is a university-affiliated medical facility named one of the top 100 hospitals in the U.S. by Thomson-Reuters with a national reputation for women’s health. Mercy is home to the nationally acclaimed Weinberg Center for Women’s Health and Medicine as well as the $400+ million, 20-story Mary Catherine Bunting Center. For more information visit Mercy online at, Facebook, Twitter or call 1-800-MD-MERCY.

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