What Is Colchicine?
Colchicine, known commonly by its common brand name, Colcrys, is a prescription medication used to treat Gout attacks and/or gout flares. These symptoms usually manifest as hard crystals that form suddenly in the joints of the body due to increased levels of uric acid in the blood. Colchicine works by decreasing the swelling and build-up of uric acid crystals that cause pain in the affected joints - usually the big toe, knee, or ankle joints.
Colchicine is also commonly used to prevent pain attacks in the abdomen, chest, or joints caused by the inherited disease, familial Mediterranean fever. In this regard, the drug is suspected to work by lowering the body’s production of amyloid A, a protein that builds up in people with familial Mediterranean fever. Although it’s used to assist in the prevention of pain caused by the symptoms of gout and familial Mediterranean fever, Colchicine is not a pain medication, and should not be taken to treat other causes of pain.
Colchicine is taken orally with or without food, and its dose is prescribed by doctors and pharmacists depending on your medical condition. Taking more or less of the drug can alter the effectiveness of Colchicine, and may also increase the risk of potential side effects.
Proper Use of this medication
COLCRYS comes as a tablet to take by mouth in 0.5 milligrams (mg) or 0.6 mg doses. It can be taken with or without food.
When used to prevent gout attacks or treat FMF, the drug is typically taken once or twice a day.
When used to relieve pain from a gout attack, it's typically taken at the first sign of pain. Then, a smaller dose is usually taken about an hour later.
If you're taking COLCRYS to treat FMF, your doctor might start you on a low dose of the drug and gradually increase it.
You should follow the directions on your prescription label carefully. Don't take more or less of this medicine than is prescribed.
Colchicine Side Effects
Side effects of Colchicine can include:
- Cramping and abdominal pain
- Unusual side effects can include:
- Unusual bleeding/bruising
- Severe diarrhea/vomiting
- Muscle weakness
- numbness/tingling in the fingers or toes
- Pale grey colour of the lips/tongue/palms of the hands
- Signs of infection
- Quickened heartbeat
- Shortness of breath
- Signs of kidney function change
Warnings and Precautions
Before taking COLCRYS, you should tell your doctor if you've had or have ever had:
•A blood disorder
•A stomach ulcer
•Any severe gastrointestinal disorder
If you're taking COLCRYS to prevent a gout attack and you experience an attack during treatment, call your doctor right away. Your physician may instruct you to take extra doses of the medicine.
If you take this medicine for a long period of time, your doctor may decide to perform blood tests on a regular basis.
COLCRYS treats the symptoms of gout, but it isn't a cure for the condition. It's also not considered a pain-killing drug and won't work for all types of pain.
Since Colcrys is the only brand of COLCRYS approved by the FDA, it's best not to use any other brand.
If you use a generic brand, you may be taking an unapproved dose of COLCRYS, which can be dangerous.
Don't purchase COLCRYS on the Internet or from other vendors outside of the United States.
Serious side effects or even death can result from using this drug improperly or without the advice of a doctor.
Continue to take this medicine even if you feel well. Don't stop taking it without first talking to your doctor.
Pregnancy and COLCRYS
COLCRYS is an FDA Pregnancy Category C drug, which means harm to an unborn baby can't be ruled out.
Interactions with this medication
You should tell your doctor about all prescription, non-prescription, illegal, recreational, herbal, nutritional, or dietary drugs you're taking or have taken in the last 14 days before taking COLCRYS, especially:
•Antibiotics such as azithromycin (Zithromax), clarithromycin (Biaxin), erythromycin (E.E.S., E-Mycin), and telithromycin (Ketek)
•Antifungals such as fluconazole (Diflucan), itraconazole (Sporanox), and ketoconazole (Nizoral)
•Cholesterol-lowering medications such as atorvastatin (Lipitor), fluvastatin (Lescol), lovastatin (Mevacor), pravastatin (Pravachol), and simvastatin (Zocor)
•Cyclosporine (Gengraf, Neoral, Sandimmune)
•Digoxin (Digitek, Lanoxin)
•Diltiazem (Cardizem, Dilacor, Tiazac, others)
•Fibrates such as bezafibrate, fenofibrate (Antara, Lipofen), and gemfibrozil (Lopid)
•Medications for HIV or AIDS such as amprenavir (Agenerase), atazanavir (Reyataz), fosamprenavir (Lexiva), indinavir (Crixivan), nelfinavir (Viracept), ritonavir (in Kaletra, Norvir), and saquinavir (Invirase)
•Verapamil (Calan, Covera, Isoptin, Verelan)
COLCRYS and Grapefruit
You shouldn't eat grapefruit or drink grapefruit juice while taking COLCRYS. Talk to your doctor about this potential interaction.
Other related products
The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.