Why are gold injections prescribed?
Gold is prescribed to reduce joint inflammation and slow down the disease process that can lead to joint damage and deformity in rheumatoid arthritis. Sometime gold is also used to treat other auto-immune conditions, such as psoriatic arthritis.
In rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory types of arthritis, the body's immune system is overactive, attacking the body's own tissues. Disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) such as gold work by reducing the activity of the immune system.
Is there any reason I won't be prescribed gold?
Gold won't usually be prescribed if:
- you have severe kidney or liver problems
- you have lupus
- you're pregnant or breastfeeding
- you've had a blood or bone marrow disorder
- you've ever had an itchy, red, scaly skin condition called exfoliative dermatitis.
Usually your doctor will recommend you have a small test dose before starting gold injections to make sure you don't have an immediate allergic reaction to them. You should tell the doctor if you feel faint or unwell, your lips or tongue swell or you develop a skin rash after the test dose as gold may not be the right treatment for you.
Please note, this text was last revised in November 2013.