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Side Effects


Colchicine should be used with caution in: elderly patients and debilitated patients and to those with cardiac, renal (kidney), hepatic (liver) or gastrointestinal disease.

It should not be used in: patients who are allergic to colchicine, children under 12 years of age, patients with blood problems, those undergoing haemodialysis, patients with severe liver disease or severe kidney disease, pregnancy, people suffering from kidney or liver problems and taking a certain type of drugs (see interactions)

Also see list of precautions and interactions


Store below 25-30°C (depending on brand) and protect from light.


What is it used for?

  • Colchicine is used to treat gout.
  • It is an analgesic (pain relieving) drug.
  • In general this drug is used to treat acute gout and helps prevent gout (high levels of uric acid in the bloodstream) during initial therapy with drugs (allopurinol, probenecid and sulfinpyrazone) that affect the levels of uric acid in the blood.
  • Benefits of being on this drug can include prevention of a gout attack (if used regularly).

Listed below are the typical uses of colchicine:

  • For the treatment of acute gout
  • For the prophylaxis (prevention) of recurrent gout
  • Prevent acute attacks during the initial treatment with allopurinol or uricosuric drugs.

On occasion your doctor may prescribe this medicine to treat a condition not on the above list.


How often do I take it?

  • For treatment of acute gout: an increasing dose as prescribed by your doctor
  • For prevention of attacks: a regular dose two or three times daily.
  • Use this medication for duration of prescription in order to get the most benefit from it. Your doctor will tell you how soon you can take another dose, how long to wait between doses and how many tablets you can take for each gout attack.
  • Remember to use it at the same time each day - unless specifically told otherwise by your doctor.
  • For the treatment of acute gout, you should wait at least 3 days before starting another course of colchicine tablets.
  • Certain medical conditions may require different dosage instructions as directed by your doctor.

What dose?

  • Dosage is based on your age, gender, medical condition, response to therapy, and use of certain interacting medicines.

Do I need to avoid anything?

  • None stated. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for more details.

When can I stop?

  • For the treatment of acute gout: stop taking this medication when the pain is gone, when you have upset stomach/diarrhoea, or when you reach the limit on the number of tablets you should take.
  • For the prevention of gout attacks: take the medicine regularly and do not stop unless told to by your doctor.


Excessive doses may also cause:

  • Profuse diarrhoea
  • Gastro-intestinal haemorrhage
  • Muscle weakness
  • Rashes
  • Renal and hepatic damage

If any of these persist or you consider them severe then stop taking this medication and inform your doctor or pharmacist.

Tell your doctor immediately if you develop any of the following symptoms: hair loss, decreased appetite, mouth sores, difficulty urinating/incontinence (bladder spasms), constipation, signs of infection (e.g., fever, persistent sore throat), easy bruising/bleeding, yellowing of eyes/skin, fatigue, dark urine, change in the amount of urine, pink/red urine, fatigue, muscle tenderness/pain, numbness/tingling of arms or legs.

Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.

A serious allergic reaction to this drug is unlikely, but seek immediate medical attention if it occurs. Symptoms of a serious allergic reaction include: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), dizziness, trouble breathing.

This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.

The Yellow Card Scheme allows you to report suspected side effects from any type of medicine (which includes vaccines, herbals and over the counter medicines) that you are taking. It is run by the medicines safety watchdog called the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory agency (MHRA). Please report any suspected side effect on the Yellow Card Scheme website.


Before taking Colchicine, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or if you have any other allergies.

This medication should not be used if you have certain medical conditions. Before using this medicine, consult your doctor or pharmacist if you have: severe liver disease, severe kidney disease, blood problems, having haemodialysis.

Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially any of the following heart problems, kidney problems, digestive problems.

Before having surgery, tell your doctor or dentist that you are taking this medication.

Does alcohol intake affect this drug?

  • Alcohol is not known to affect colchicine.

The elderly: colchicine should be used with caution in the elderly as kidney function declines as you grow older and this medication is removed by the kidneys. Therefore, elderly people may be at greater risk for side effects while using this drug, especially muscle problems.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding - please ensure you read the detailed information below


Colchicine is not safe to take if you are, or are planning to become, pregnant.

It is sensible to limit use of medication during pregnancy whenever possible. However, your doctor may decide that the benefits outweigh the risks in individual circumstances and after a careful assessment of your specific health situation.

If you have any doubts or concerns you are advised to discuss the medicine with your doctor or pharmacist.


Colchicine passes into breast milk. It should not be taken whilst breastfeeding, unless your doctor thinks it is necessary.

It is sensible to limit use of medication during breastfeeding whenever possible. However, your doctor may decide that the benefits outweigh the risks in individual circumstances and after a careful assessment of your specific health situation.

If you have any doubts or concerns you are advised to discuss the medicine with your doctor or pharmacist.


Before using this medicine, tell your prescriber of all the medicines you are taking including prescription medicines and medicines you have bought over the counter without a prescription. Tell your prescriber if you are taking vitamins or complementary remedies such as herbal products, as these can also interact with medicines.

If you are taking more than one medicine, these may interact with each other. Your prescriber may decide to use medicines which interact with each other if the benefit outweighs the risks. In these cases, the dose of your medicines may need to be adjusted or you may be monitored more closely.

The following medicines may interact with colchicine:

  • Clarithromycin, erythromycin or telithromycin
  • Ritonavir, atazanavir or indinavir
  • Ciclosporin
  • Ketoconazole or itraconazole
  • Verapamil or diltiazem
  • Quinidine
  • Statins such as fluvastatin
  • Amiodarone
  • Digoxin

This information does not contain all possible interactions. Therefore, tell your prescriber of all the products you are using before taking this medicine.

If you have a question or want to discuss anything about your medicine, speak to your local pharmacist.


An overdose of colchicine may cause: bloody diarrhoea, blood in the urine, change in the amount of urine, muscle weakness, seizures, and confusion.

If you think you, or someone you care for, might have accidentally taken more than the recommended dose of colchicine or intentional overdose is suspected, contact your local hospital, GP or if in England call 111. In Scotland call NHS 24. In Wales, call NHS Direct Wales. In the case of medical emergencies, always dial 999.


If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it is near the time of the next dose, skip the missed dose and resume your usual dosing schedule. Do not double the dose to catch up.

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CONDITIONS OF USE: The information in this database is intended to supplement, not substitute for, the expertise and judgement of healthcare professionals. The information is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, drug interactions or adverse events, nor should it be construed to indicate that use of a particular medicine is safe, appropriate or effective for you or anyone else. A healthcare professional should be consulted before taking any medicine, changing any diet, or discontinuing any course of treatment.

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