Colchicine is the general form of the branded preparation Colcrys, used to prevent and alleviate gout symptoms.
Gout is characterized by sudden severe pain in the joints, which is caused by a high content of uric acid in the blood.
Colchicine is also used for adults and children aged 4 years and older for the treatment of familial Mediterranean fever (FMF), which is a condition that causes fever, pain and swelling of the stomach, lungs, and joints.
The drug is in a class of drugs called anti-gout. It works by influencing how your body reacts to uric acid crystals, thereby reducing swelling and pain.
Colchicine was developed prior to federal regulations requiring that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) review all medications sold, so not all uses of the drug were approved by the FDA.
As of 2009, Colcrys is the only colchicine brand that has been approved.
Before taking colchicine, you should tell your doctor if you have or have ever had:
- Kidney disease
- Liver disease
- Heart disease
- Blood disorder
- Stomach ulcer
- Ulcerative colitis
- Crohn’s disease
- Intestinal bleeding
- Any severe gastrointestinal upset
If you take colchicine to prevent a gout attack and you experience an attack during treatment, call your doctor immediately. Your doctor can teach you to take additional doses of medication.
If you take this medicine for a long period of time, your doctor may decide to conduct blood tests on a regular basis.
Colchicine treats gout symptoms, but it is not a cure for this condition. It is also not considered a cure for pain and will not work for all kinds of pain.
Since Colcrys is the only brand of colchicine approved by the FDA, it is better not to use any other brand.
If you use a generic brand, you can take an unapproved dose of colchicine, which can be dangerous.
Do not buy colchicine on the Internet or from other suppliers outside the United States.
Serious side effects or even death can occur as a result of using this medication incorrectly or without consulting a doctor.
Continue to take this medicine even if you feel well. Do not stop taking it without first discussing it with your doctor.
Pregnancy and colchicine
Colchicine is a drug of the FDA category for pregnant women, which means that harm to the unborn child can not be ruled out.
You should tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant while taking this medication.
Also, it is not known whether colchicine passes into breast milk and whether it can harm breastfeeding.
Before using this medication during breastfeeding, you should talk with your doctor.
Side Effects of Colchicine
Tell your doctor if any of the following side effects is serious or does not disappear:
- Stomach ache
Serious side effects of colchicine
Immediately consult your doctor if you experience the following serious side effects:
- Numbness of fingers or toes
- Muscle pain or weakness
- Unusual bleeding or bruising
- Sore throat, fever, chills, or other signs of infection
- Weakness or grayness of lips, tongue or palms
- Blood in the urine
- Severe vomiting or diarrhea
- Symptoms of an allergic reaction
You should inform your doctor about the medications you are taking or taking in the last 14 days before taking colchicine, especially:
- Antibiotics such as azithromycin (Zithromax), clarithromycin (bixin), erythromycin (EES, E-Mycin), and telithromycin (Ketek)
- Antifungal agents such as fluconazole (Diflucan), itraconazole (Sporanox) and ketoconazole (Nizoral)
- Aprepitant (Emend)
- Drugs that lower cholesterol levels, such as atorvastatin (lipitor), fluvastatin (losol), lovastatin (mevacore), pravastatin (pravochol), and simvastatin (Zocor)
- Ciclosporin (Gengraf, Neoral, Sandimmune)
- Digoxin (Digitek, Lanoxin)
- Diltiazem (Cardizem, Dilacor, Tiazac, others)
- Fibrates, such as bezafibrate, fenofibrate (Antara, Lipofen), and gemfibrozil (Lopid)
- Drugs from HIV or AIDS, such as amprenavir (ageneraz), atazanavir (Reyetas), fosamprenavir (Lexiva), indinavir (Crixivan), nelfinavir (Viracept), ritonavir (in Kaletra, Norvir) and saquinavir (Invirase)
- Ranolasin (Ranexa)
- Verapamil (Kalan, Kavka, Isoptin, Velelan)
Colchicine and grapefruit
You should not eat grapefruit or drink grapefruit juice while taking colchicine. Talk with your doctor about this potential interaction.
Colchicine is supplied as a tablet, which must be taken orally at a dose of 0.5 mg (mg) or 0.6 mg. It can be taken with or without food.
When used to prevent bouts of gout or treatment with FMF, the drug is usually taken once or twice a day.
When used to relieve the pain of a gout attack, it is usually taken at the first sign of pain. Then a smaller dose is usually taken after about an hour.
If you are taking colchicine for the treatment of FMF, your doctor can start with a low dose of the drug and gradually increase it.
You should carefully follow the directions on the recipe label. Do not take more or less of this medication than it is prescribed.
Overdose of colchicine
If you suspect an overdose, you should immediately contact a toxicology center or an emergency room.
Missed dose of Colchicine
If you regularly take colchicine, and you miss a dose of colchicine, take it as soon as you remember.
However, if the next dose comes, skip it and continue with your usual dosing schedule.
Do not double the dose to make up the missed one.