Colchicine is used to prevent gout attacks (sudden, severe pain in one or more joints caused by abnormally high levels of a substance called uric acid in the blood) in adults. Colchicine (Colcrys) is also used to relieve the pain of gout attacks when they occur.
Colchicine (Colcrys) is also used to treat familial Mediterranean fever (FMF; an inborn condition that causes episodes of fever, pain, and swelling of the stomach area, lungs, and joints) in adults and children 4 years of age and older. Colchicine is not a pain reliever and cannot be used to treat pain that is not caused by gout or FMF. Colchicine is in a class of medications called anti-gout agents. It works by stopping the natural processes that cause swelling and other symptoms of gout and FMF.
Side Effects Of Colchicine
Colchicine may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of the following symptoms are severe or do not go away :
- stomach cramps or pain
Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of the following symptoms, stop taking colchicine and call your doctor immediately:
- muscle pain or weakness
- numbness or tingling in the fingers or toes
- unusual bruising or bleeding
- sore throat, fever, chills, and other signs of infection
- weakness or tiredness
- paleness or grayness of the lips, tongue, or palms
- Colchicine may decrease fertility in men. Talk to your doctor about the risks of taking colchicine.
Warnings & Precautions
Before taking colchicine:
- tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to colchicine, any other medications, or any of the ingredients in colchicine tablets or solution. Ask your doctor or pharmacist or check the medication guide for a list of ingredients.
- tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional products, and herbal supplements you are taking, have taken within the past 14 days, or plan to take. Be sure to mention any of the following: antibiotics such as azithromycin (Zithromax), clarithromycin (Biaxin), erythromycin (E.E.S., E-Mycin), telithromycin (Ketek; not available in the U.S.); antifungals such as fluconazole (Diflucan), itraconazole (Sporanox), ketoconazole (Nizoral), and posaconazole (Noxafil); aprepitant (Emend); cholesterol-lowering medications (statins) such as atorvastatin (Lipitor), fluvastatin (Lescol), lovastatin (Mevacor), pravastatin (Pravachol), and simvastatin (Zocor); cyclosporine (GenGraf, Neoral, Sandimmune); digoxin (Digitek, Lanoxin); diltiazem (Cardizem, Dilacor, Tiazac, others); fibrates such as bezafibrate, fenofibrate (Antara, Lipofen), and gemfibrozil (Lopid); medications for HIV or AIDS such as amprenavir (Agenerase), atazanavir (Reyataz), fosamprenavir (Lexiva), indinavir (Crixivan), nelfinavir (Viracept), ritonavir (in Kaletra, Norvir), and saquinavir (Invirase); nefazodone; ranolazine (Ranexa); and verapamil (Calan, Covera, Isoptin, Verelan). Your doctor may need to change the doses of your medications or monitor you carefully for side effects. Many other medications may also interact with colchicine, so be sure to tell your doctor about all the medications you are taking, even those that do not appear on this list.
- tell your doctor if you have or have ever had kidney or liver disease. Your doctor will probably tell you not to take colchicine if you are taking certain other medications or if you have both kidney and liver disease.
- tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while taking colchicine, call your doctor.
Colchicine comes as a tablet and solution (liquid; Gloperba) to take by mouth with or without food. When colchicine is used to prevent gout attacks or to treat FMF, it is usually taken once or twice a day. When colchicine (Colcrys) is used to relieve the pain of a gout attack, one dose is usually taken at the first sign of pain, and a second, smaller dose is usually taken one hour later. If you do not experience relief or have another attack within several days after treatment, talk to your doctor before taking additional doses of medication. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take colchicine exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
It is important to use an oral syringe (measuring device) to accurately measure the correct amount of liquid for each dose; do not use a household spoon.
If you are taking colchicine (Colcrys) to treat FMF, your doctor may start you on a low dose and gradually increase your dose. Your doctor may decrease your dose if you experience side effects.
If you are taking colchicine to prevent gout attacks, call your doctor right away if you experience a gout attack during your treatment. Your doctor may tell you to take an extra dose of colchicine, followed by a smaller dose one hour later. If you take extra doses of colchicine to treat a gout attack, you should not take your next scheduled dose of colchicine until at least 12 hours have passed since you took the extra doses.
Colchicine can prevent attacks of gout and control FMF only as long as you take the medication. Continue to take colchicine even if you feel well. Do not stop taking colchicine without talking to your doctor.
Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. Your doctor may order certain lab tests to check your response to colchicine.
Do not let anyone else take your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.
It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.
All information has been provided courtesy of MedLinePlus from the National Library of Medicine and from the FDA.