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Colchicine is used for the treatment of gout.

Pronunciation: KOL-chi-seen

What are colchicine’s uses?

Colchicine is used to treat acute gout attacks. It affects the way the body responds to uric acid crystals, blocking the inflammation caused by them. Its other benefit is that it reduces the chance of future gout attacks if used in low doses.

If nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are advised against, then colchicine is an effective alternative.

What dosage should you take?

The typical colchicine dose for adults to treat acute gout is 0.5 to 1mg initially, followed by 0.5mg every six hours until pain is relieved or gastrointestinal distress develops. In the elderly, lower doses should be used.

However, first check the correct dosages with your Clicks pharmacist.

What special precautions should you take?

  • During pregnancy, it is best to avoid the use of colchicine as it could adversely impact your unborn child.
  • If you’re breastfeeding only use colchicine if your doctor tells you it’s absolutely essential, as it does excrete into breast milk.
  • Always take colchicine with food.
  • Prolonged prophylactic therapy is not recommended as there is a risk of developing a blood disorder.
  • Grapefruit and its juice may interact adversely with colchicine.

Colchicine should be used with caution by the elderly and debilitated and if you suffer from the following conditions:

Colchicine should be avoided if you suffer from the following conditions:

What drug interactions could you experience?

As a rule, always inform your doctor or Clicks pharmacist what prescription and non-prescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements and herbal products you are taking or planning to take to ensure you don’t suffer the effects of adverse drug interactions.

What are colchicine’s side effects?

Side effects could include:

  • Mild nausea or vomiting
  • Mild diarrhoea
  • Gastrointestinal bleeding
  • Rashes
  • Kidney and liver damage (if used excessively)
  • Hair loss (although uncommon)

This is not a complete list of side effects. It’s essential that you call your doctor should you notice any severe or odd side effects.

What are the overdose symptoms?

Overdosing can result in fatalities. Call a doctor or an ambulance immediately if you experience the following symptoms:

  • Bloody stools
  • Severe nausea
  • Severe diarrhoea
  • Vomiting
  • Severe stomach pain
  • Burning skin and throat
  • Muscle pain or weakness
  • Urinating less than usual
  • Numbness or tingling
  • Fainting
  • Seizure or convulsions
The accuracy of this information was checked and approved by Clicks' pharmacist Waheed Abdurahman in April 2015