Author: Vanessa Ngan, Staff Writer, 2003.

Gold compounds are primarily used in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. However, they may be useful in the treatment of some skin diseases, including pemphigus vulgaris, epidermolysis bullosa acquisita, and severe or resistant cutaneous lupus erythematosus.

Another name for gold tablets administered orally is auranofin. The trade name in New Zealand is Ridaura. Gold injection, known as sodium aurothiomalate is also available.

How to use gold compounds

Gold compounds should only be used by a doctor experienced in its use, as the risk of toxicity is high and side effects potentially dangerous. It is essential that treatment with the drug is not more disabling then the disease it is being used to treat.

Prior to starting treatment with gold compounds a routine baseline assessment should include:

Regular monitoring of these should continue throughout treatment.

Similar doses to those used for treating rheumatoid arthritis are given. If there is no improvement by the time the total dose reaches 1g treatment should be stopped.


Gold compounds should not be used under the following circumstances:


Before starting treatment with gold compounds, the following should be considered:

Side effects

In addition to their helpful effects, gold compounds may also cause many side effects, some of which can be serious. These include:

Drug Interactions

There is very little specific information about interactions of gold compounds with other drugs. However, the potential for increasing gold toxicity is great, particularly when given with other drugs that have an effect on the renal, hepatic and blood systems. Such medicines include penicillamine, aminoglycosides, amphotericin B, penicillins, phenylbutazone, phenytoin, sulfonamides, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDS), aciclovir and alcohol.

Related information

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