Doctoral candidate Simone Kaiser holds test tubes with HIV infected blood that has separated into white and red blood cells, Monday Feb. 16, 2004 at the HIV laboratory at the Hamburg, northern Germany, University Hospital. Scientists on Monday launched the country's first test of an HIV vaccine, a yearlong program that will involve up to 50 volunteers and is backed by the New York-based International AIDS Vaccine Initiative. (AP Photo/Christof Stache)

London - A trial is looking at which of two gout treatments works best.

The condition, characterised by swelling and severe pain, is caused by a build-up of uric acid, a waste product made in the body. It can form tiny crystals in and around joints that lead to often agonising attacks.

In a study at Keele University, 400 volunteers will be given naproxen or colchicine, the main treatments for the condition. Naproxen blocks the body’s production of compounds that cause pain and inflammation.

Colchicine reduces pain and tenderness by preventing white blood cells travelling to affected areas.

The body reacts to uric acid crystals as if they were invading bacteria and sends white blood cells to tackle them; this results in inflammation. The trial will compare how each drug works and any side-effects. - Daily Mail