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Home > Patients & Visitors > Health Library > Gold Salts for Rheumatoid Arthritis
Oral (by mouth)
Intramuscular (by a shot or injection)
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
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
A review reports that treatment with
intramuscular gold (parenteral gold) reduces disease activity and joint
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.
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
See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects.
(Drug Reference is not available in all systems.)
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.
Complete the new medication information form (PDF)(What is a PDF document?) to help you understand this medication.
Kwoh CK, et al. (2002). Guidelines for the management
of rheumatoid arthritis. Arthritis and Rheumatism,
Walker-Bone K, Fallow S (2007). Rheumatoid arthritis,
search date June 2005. Online version of BMJ Clinical Evidence. Also available online:
Drugs for rheumatoid arthritis (2009). Treatment Guidelines From The Medical Letter, 7(81): 37–46.
June 5, 2012
Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine & Nancy Ann Shadick, MD, MPH - Internal Medicine, Rheumatology
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