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Colchicine

Generic Name: colchicine (KOL chi seen)
Brand Name: Colcrys, Mitigare

Medically reviewed on March 26, 2018.

What is colchicine?

Colchicine affects the way the body responds to uric acid crystals, which reduces swelling and pain.

Because colchicine was developed prior to federal regulations requiring FDA review of all marketed drug products, not all uses for colchicine have been approved by the FDA.

The Colcrys brand of colchicine is FDA-approved to treat or prevent gout in adults, and to treat a genetic condition called Familial Mediterranean Fever in adults and children who are at least 4 years old.

The Mitigare brand of colchicine is FDA-approved to prevent gout flares in adults.

Generic forms of colchicine have been used to treat or prevent attacks of gout, or to treat symptoms of Behcets syndrome (such as swelling, redness, warmth, and pain).

Colchicine is not a cure for gouty arthritis or Behcets syndrome, and it will not prevent these diseases from progressing. Colchicine should not be used as a routine pain medication for other conditions.

Colchicine may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

Important Information

Serious drug interactions can occur when certain medicines are used together with colchicine. Tell each of your healthcare providers about all medicines you use now, and any medicine you start or stop using.

Before taking this medicine

You should not use colchicine if you are allergic to it.

Some medicines can cause unwanted or dangerous effects when used with colchicine, especially if you have liver or kidney disease. Your doctor may need to change your treatment plan if you use any of the following drugs:

To make sure colchicine is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:

It is not known whether this medicine will harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.

Colchicine can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. Tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

How should I take colchicine?

Do not purchase colchicine on the Internet or from vendors outside of the United States. Using this medication improperly or without the advice of a doctor can result in serious side effects or death.

Follow all directions on your prescription label. Do not take this medicine in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.

Colchicine can be taken with or without food.

To treat a gout attack, for best results take colchicine at the first sign of the attack. The longer you wait to start taking the medication, the less effective it may be.

You may need to take a second lower dose of colchicine 1 hour after the first dose if you still have gout pain. Follow your doctor's instructions.

Your dose will depend on the reason you are taking this medicine. Colchicine doses for gout and Mediterranean fever are different.

Do not stop using colchicine unless your doctor tells you to, even if you feel fine.

Call your doctor if your symptoms do not improve, or if they get worse.

If you use this medicine long-term, you may need frequent medical tests.

Store at room temperature away from moisture, heat, and light. Keep the bottle tightly closed when not in use.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222. An overdose of colchicine can be fatal.

Overdose symptoms may include diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, muscle weakness, little or no urinating, numbness or tingling, weak pulse, slow heart rate, weak or shallow breathing, or fainting.

What should I avoid while taking colchicine?

Grapefruit and grapefruit juice may interact with colchicine and lead to unwanted side effects. Avoid the use of grapefruit products while taking colchicine.

Colchicine side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Call your doctor at once if you have:

  • muscle pain or weakness;

  • numbness or tingly feeling in your fingers or toes;

  • pale or gray appearance of your lips, tongue, or hands;

  • severe or ongoing vomiting or diarrhea;

  • fever, chills, body aches, flu symptoms; or

  • easy bruising, unusual bleeding, feeling weak or tired.

Common side effects may include:

  • nausea, vomiting, stomach pain; or

  • diarrhea.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

See also: Side effects (in more detail)

What other drugs will affect colchicine?

Many drugs can interact with colchicine, and some drugs should not be used together. This includes prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible interactions are listed in this medication guide. Tell your doctor about all medicines you use, and those you start or stop using during your treatment with colchicine. Give a list of all your medicines to any healthcare provider who treats you.

Further information

Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

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