Gold injections: One treatment for arthritis that dates as far back as the eighteenth century, but is less commonly used today, is injections with gold salts. Is gold for arthritis still effective and does it offer any additional benefits over traditional treatment for arthritis?

Overview of gold treatment

There’s enough evidence to suggest that gold for arthritis really does work. Several studies showed that injection with gold salts works better than a placebo for reducing joint swelling. Oral gold didn’t seem to have the same benefits as gold injections although it has fewer side effects.

It’s not entirely clear how gold salts work to treat Rheumatoid arthritis; but they’re believed to reduce inflammation by inhibiting the action of immune cells. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease where immune cells damage the joint and its synovium, as well as the cartilage. By inhibiting the immune response, the inflammation is reduced along with the pain.

Side effects of gold injections

There are some drawbacks to using gold for arthritis treatment:

  • The injections need to be given weekly for five months before being tapered back to once every three to four weeks, and benefits are seldom seen until several months have passed.
  • Gold injections also cause significant side effects including mouth sores, kidney problems, hair loss, stomach upset, skin rashes, and an increased risk of infection.

Because of the potentially serious side effects, gold injections are not as frequently used for arthritis as they once were. Injectable gold is also harder to find as companies have stopped making it due to lack of demand.

Gold therapy: The Bottom Line?

Although gold injections appear to be effective for reducing inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis, side effects limit its use when there are safer treatments available. Gold for arthritis may have seen its heyday.