Gold Salts for Rheumatoid Arthritis
Oral (by mouth)
Intramuscular (by a shot or injection)
How It Works
It is not understood exactly how gold works to treat rheumatoid arthritis. But gold salts appear to accumulate slowly in the body and, over time, they reduce inflammation and slow the progression of rheumatoid arthritis.
Gold injections are given every week for the first 22 weeks. After that, gold may be given less often if it is working.1
Why It Is Used
Gold is used to reduce inflammation and slow disease progression in people who have rheumatoid arthritis. Gold is not usually the first treatment given to people who have rheumatoid arthritis, since methotrexate and other disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) are available.
How Well It Works
A review reports that treatment with intramuscular gold (parenteral gold) reduces disease activity and joint inflammation.2
Gold salts taken by mouth (oral) have not been found to be as effective as gold injections.3
Side effects may develop after a significant amount of gold has accumulated in the body.
Oral gold has fewer side effects than gold injected into the muscle. Common side effects of oral gold include:
Common side effects of injected gold include:
Rarer side effects include:
Extremely rare side effects include bowel or lung inflammation.
See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug Reference is not available in all systems.)
What To Think About
It can take 3 to 6 months before gold treatment improves symptoms.
Regular urine tests to check for protein (indicating kidney damage) and blood tests are needed.
eMedicineHealth Medical Reference from Healthwise
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