Colchicine Side Effects
Some side effects of colchicine may not be reported. Always consult your doctor or healthcare specialist for medical advice. You may also report side effects to the FDA.
For the Consumer
Applies to colchicine: oral tablet
Along with its needed effects, colchicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.
Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur while taking colchicine:More common
- nausea or vomiting
- stomach pain
- Black, tarry stools
- blood in the urine or stools
- burning, "crawling", or tingling feeling in the skin
- difficulty in breathing when exercising
- fever with or without chills
- large, hive-like swellings on the face, eyelids, mouth, lips, or tongue
- muscle weakness
- numbness in the fingers or toes (usually mild)
- peeling of the skin
- pinpoint red spots on the skin
- skin rash or hives
- sores, ulcers, or white spots on the lips or in the mouth
- sore throat
- unusual bleeding or bruising
- unusual tiredness or weakness
Get emergency help immediately if any of the following symptoms of overdose occur while taking colchicine:Symptoms of overdose
- burning feeling in the stomach, throat, or skin
- convulsions (seizures)
- diarrhea (severe or bloody)
- fast, shallow breathing
- muscle weakness (very severe)
- nausea, stomach pain, or vomiting (severe)
Some side effects of colchicine may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:Less common
- Hair loss
- loss of appetite
For Healthcare Professionals
Applies to colchicine: compounding powder, intravenous solution, oral tablet
Gastrointestinal side effects have included diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain in nearly 80% of treated patients, and can be indicative of acute colchicine toxicity. Anorexia, electrolyte disturbance, pancreatitis, and paralytic ileus may also occur, and steatorrhea and enzyme inhibition have been reported in patients on long-term colchicine prophylaxis.
A case of fatal pancytopenia developed in a patient treated with 10 mg of colchicine over a 5 day period.
Thrombocytopenia is a rare side effect and is usually associated with myelotoxicity.
Hematologic side effects have included thrombocytopenia, pancytopenia, leukopenia, agranulocytosis, bone marrow failure, bone marrow depression, disseminated intravascular coagulation, and aplastic anemia in patients on long-term therapy and are most common in cases of overdose or intoxication. Heinz-body hemolytic anemia has been reported in 3 cases.
Colchicine-induced neuromyopathy often presents with a pattern of general muscle weakness, elevated creatinine phosphokinase, a diffuse myositic pattern on EMG, and noninflammatory vacuolar changes on muscle biopsy.
Nervous system side effects have rarely included myopathy, seizures, mental status changes, and neuropathy in patients with impaired renal function, and are sometimes reversible with drug discontinuation. Neuromyopathy occurrence has been reported with or without elevated muscle enzymes.
Acute renal failure with a fatal outcome has been reported in a 78-old-man after a 10 day course of colchicine 0.5 mg three times a day.
Chronic renal failure has been reported in two Sepharad patients after 20 years of appropriate colchicine therapy for familial Mediterranean fever.
Renal side effects have included acute renal failure and rare cases of rapid progressive glomerulonephritis. Chronic renal failure and acute renal failure with a fatal outcome following colchicine toxicity have been reported.
Dermatologic side effects have included urticaria, alopecia after intoxication or long-term usage, toxic epidermal necrolysis with concomitant ethanol use, fixed drug eruption, dermatitis, and purpura.
A case of reversible azoospermia has been reported in a patient treated with colchicine. The patient's sperm count returned to normal when colchicine was discontinued, and decreased on reintroduction of the drug. The patient fathered two apparently normal children while not receiving the drug. One study of six patients treated with colchicine showed moderate oligospermia in two patients, but no effect in any of the treated patients.
Genitourinary side effects have rarely included azoospermia.
Hepatic side effects have occasionally been reported.
Respiratory side effects including adult respiratory distress syndrome have been reported.
Musculoskeletal side effects have been reported the most frequently. These have included myopathy, manifested as weakness, neuropathy, and paralysis.
More about colchicine
- Other brands: Colcrys
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