Skip to Content

Colchicine Side Effects

In Summary

Commonly reported side effects of colchicine include: diarrhea and nausea. See below for a comprehensive list of adverse effects.

For the Consumer

Applies to colchicine: oral capsule, oral tablet

In addition to its needed effects, some unwanted effects may be caused by colchicine. In the event that any of these side effects do occur, they may require medical attention.

Major Side Effects

You should check with your doctor immediately if any of these side effects occur when taking colchicine:

More common:
  • Diarrhea
  • nausea or vomiting
  • stomach pain
  • Black, tarry stools
  • blood in the urine or stools
  • burning, "crawling", or tingling feeling in the skin
  • difficulty with breathing when exercising
  • fever with or without chills
  • headache
  • large, hive-like swellings on the face, eyelids, mouth, lips, or tongue
  • muscle weakness
  • numbness in the fingers or toes (usually mild)
  • pain
  • peeling of the skin
  • pinpoint red spots on the skin
  • redness
  • skin rash or hives
  • sores, ulcers, or white spots on the lips or in the mouth
  • sore throat
  • swelling
  • tenderness
  • unusual bleeding or bruising
  • unusual tiredness or weakness

If any of the following symptoms of overdose occur while taking colchicine, get emergency help immediately:

Symptoms of overdose:
  • Bleeding
  • 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)

Minor Side Effects

Some of the side effects that can occur with colchicine may not need medical attention. As your body adjusts to the medicine during treatment these side effects may go away. Your health care professional may also be able to tell you about ways to reduce or prevent some of these side effects. If any of the following side effects continue, are bothersome or if you have any questions about them, check with your health care professional:

Less common:
  • Hair loss
  • loss of appetite

For Healthcare Professionals

Applies to colchicine: compounding powder, intravenous solution, oral capsule, oral tablet


The most common adverse reactions have included gastrointestinal symptoms and pharyngolaryngeal pain.[Ref]


Very common (10% or more): Diarrhea (23%)
Common (1% to 10%): Abdominal cramping, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting
Frequency not reported: Lactose intolerance, gastrointestinal hemorrhage, paralytic ileus, stomatitis[Ref]

Gastrointestinal events including diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain are the most common adverse reactions reported with use of this drug. These events are often the first signs of toxicity and may indicate the need for dose reduction or therapy discontinuation.[Ref]


Rare (less than 0.1%): Agranulocytosis, thrombocytopenia, aplastic anemia
Postmarketing reports: Myelosuppression, disseminated intravascular coagulation[Ref]

Nervous system

Rare (less than 0.1%): Peripheral neuritis
Frequency not reported: Sensory motor neuropathy[Ref]


Rare (less than 0.1%): Myopathy, rhabdomyolysis
Frequency not reported: Elevated CPK, myotonia, muscle weakness, muscle pain[Ref]


Very rare (less than 0.01%): Hypersensitivity including angioedema[Ref]


Frequency not reported: Renal damage, bladder spasm, anuria, oliguria[Ref]


Frequency not reported: elevated AST, elevated ALT, elevated alkaline phosphatase, hepatic damage[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Pharyngolaryngeal pain
Postmarketing reports: Adult respiratory distress syndrome[Ref]


There have been reports of corneal ulcers refractory to conventional treatment and delayed corneal wound healing following strabismus surgery in patients receiving colchicine. Discontinuation of colchicine therapy resulted in satisfactory wound healing within several days.[Ref]

Frequency not reported: Delayed corneal wound healing[Ref]


Rare (less than 0.1%): Alopecia
Very rare (less than 0.01%): Nonthrombocytopenic purpura rashes, rashes, urticaria, dermatoses, dermatitis
Frequency not reported: Maculopapular rash[Ref]


Frequency not reported: Hypothyroidism[Ref]


Rare (less than 0.1%): Azoospermia, oligospermia
Frequency not reported: Amenorrhea, dysmenorrhea, hematuria[Ref]


Frequency not reported: Loss of appetite[Ref]


1. "Product Information. Colcrys (colchicine)." AR Scientific Inc, Philadelphia, PA.

2. "Product Information. Mitigare (colchicine)." Hikma Americas, Inc, Memphis, TN.

3. Cerner Multum, Inc. "UK Summary of Product Characteristics." O 0

4. Cerner Multum, Inc. "Australian Product Information." O 0

Not all side effects for colchicine may be reported. You should always consult a doctor or healthcare professional for medical advice. Side effects can be reported to the FDA here.

Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided is accurate, up-to-date and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. In addition, the drug information contained herein may be time sensitive and should not be utilized as a reference resource beyond the date hereof. This material does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients, or recommend therapy. This information is a reference resource designed as supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill , knowledge, and judgement of healthcare practitioners in patient care. The absence of a warning for a given drug or combination thereof in no way should be construed to indicate safety, effectiveness, or appropriateness for any given patient. does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of materials provided. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the substances you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist.