Colchicine is taken in tablet form (oral).
How It Works
Colchicine blocks the inflammation caused
uric acid crystals.
Why It Is Used
Colchicine has long been used to
gout attacks. It does not lower the level of uric
acid. But in low doses, it does reduce the chance of future gout
Colchicine may be an option for some people who cannot
take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
To help reduce the number and severity of gout attacks that can result
when uric acid levels change suddenly, colchicine may be given at the same time
as uricosuric medicines, such as probenecid or sulfinpyrazone, which lower uric acid levels, or xanthine oxidase inhibitors, which
block uric acid production.
Colchicine is avoided or used with caution in people who have:
How Well It Works
Colchicine is usually effective in
relieving a gout attack within 12 to 24 hours.1
Low doses of colchicine are effective in preventing or reducing the
severity of future gout attacks.
All medicines have side effects. But many people don't feel the side effects, or they are able to deal with them. Ask your pharmacist about the side effects of each medicine you take. Side effects are also listed in the information that comes with your medicine.
Here are some important things to think about:
- Usually the benefits of the medicine are more important than any minor side effects.
- Side effects may go away after you take the medicine for a while.
- If side effects still bother you and you wonder if you should keep taking the medicine, call your doctor. He or she may be able to lower your dose or change your medicine. Do not suddenly quit taking your medicine unless your doctor tells you to.
Call 911 or other emergency services right away if you have:
Call your doctor right away if you have:
- Blood in urine or stools.
- Unusual bruising or bleeding.
- Unusual tiredness.
Common side effects of this medicine include:
Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug Reference is not available in
What To Think About
drugs (NSAIDs) are as effective as and cause less nausea, vomiting, and
diarrhea than colchicine. But colchicine is less likely to make peptic ulcers
If you have kidney or liver problems, talk to your doctor
before and/or while taking colchicine. This medicine may cause existing kidney
or liver conditions to get worse and could lead to harmful reactions and
Medicine is one of the many tools your doctor has to treat a health problem. Taking medicine as your doctor suggests will improve your health and may prevent future problems. If you don't take your medicines properly, you may be putting your health (and perhaps your life) at risk.
There are many reasons why people have trouble taking their medicine. But in most cases, there is something you can do. For suggestions on how to work around common problems, see the topic Taking Medicines as Prescribed.
Advice for women
If you are pregnant, breast-feeding, or trying to get pregnant, do not use any medicines unless your doctor tells you to. Some medicines can harm your baby. This includes prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, herbs, and supplements. And make sure that all your doctors know that you are pregnant, breast-feeding, or planning to get pregnant.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Complete the new medication information form (PDF)(What is a PDF document?) to help you understand this medication.
Wise C (2007). Crystal-induced joint disease. In DC
Dale, DD Federman, eds., ACP Medicine,
section 15, chap. 9. New York: WebMD.
Primary Medical Reviewer
||Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer
||Nancy Ann Shadick, MD, MPH - Internal Medicine, Rheumatology
Current as of
||June 12, 2012