Colchicine is the active ingredient of Lennon-Colchicine and Colchicine Houde.
Colchicine is prescribed to relief an acute gout attack, or to prevent an acute gout attack when treatment is started with a drug such as Allopurinol.
Colchicine is often prescribed in combination with a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug such as diclofenac to relief pain and to add to the anti-inflammatory effect of colchicine.
Colchicine is most effective when taken at the first sign of a gout attack. A course of colchicine should however not be repeated within 3 days.
To prevent gout attacks beer, wine and purine-rich foods such as liver, kidney, sweetbreads, anchovies and sardines should be avoided.
How does colchicine work?
Uric acid forms crystal deposits in tissue, often in and around joints, which is the cause of many of the symptoms of gout. Colchicine reduces the inflammatory response to these urate crystals in joints. It has no effect on the elimination of urate from the body.
Drug schedule: Schedule 2, 3
Available as: Colchicine is available as tablets.
What does it do? Colchicine has an anti-gout action.
Overdose risk: High
Dependence risk: Low
Is colchicine available as a generic? Yes
Is colchicine available on prescription only? Yes
Onset of effect: Within 6 hours
Duration of action: Up to 2 hours
Dietary advice: Colchicine should best be taken with food. To prevent gout attacks, beer, wine and purine-rich foods such as liver, kidney, sweetbreads, anchovies and sardines should be avoided.
Stopping this medicine: Continue with treatment until relief is obtained or diarrhoea develops. If your doctor prescribed colchicine for chronic use, you should speak to him before discontinuing this drug.
Prolonged use: Prolonged use may increase the incidence of side-effects. This may include hair loss, muscle pain and blood disorders. Your doctor may request periodic blood tests.
Consult your doctor before using this drug if:
- You have kidney or liver disease
- You have or had a stomach ulcer
- You have heart disease
- You are taking other medication.
Pregnancy: Avoid. Potential risk to the foetus has been reported. Consult your doctor before use, or if you are planning to fall pregnant.
Breastfeeding: Avoid. This medication is passed through breast milk and may affect your baby adversely. Consult your doctor before use.
Porphyria: This medication is safe to use.
Infants and children: This medication is not intended for use in children.
Elderly: Caution is advised in the elderly, as side effects may be more severe.
Driving and hazardous work: No special precautions need to be taken.
Alcohol: Avoid concomitant use of alcohol with this medication, as it may increase gastrointestinal side effects.
Possible side effects
Consult your doctor
Only if severe
In all cases
Diarrhoea/ abdominal discomfort
Warfarin and other anticoagulants
Increased risk of gastrointestinal bleeding
Possible ciclosporin toxicity
Possible increased colchicines toxicity
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
Possible increase in gastrointestinal side effects
Consult your doctor before using this drug if you have kidney or liver disease, a stomach ulcer, heart disease, blood disorders, or if you have inflammatory bowel disease.
An overdose of this medication can be fatal. Seek immediate emergency medical attention.
Adults, acute attack: Treatment is started with an initial dose of 1 mg, followed by 0.5 mg every 2 hours until relief is obtained, diarrhoea sets in, or 10 mg have been taken. This dose should not be repeated within 72 hours.
Experts compare colchicine poisoning to arsenic poisoning, with symptoms appearing within 5 hours after ingestion of the toxic dose. Symptoms include burning in the throat, fever, diarrhoea, severe abdominal pain and kidney failure. Death occurs as a result of respiratory failure.