Colchicine for gout
Colchicine is taken in tablet form (oral).
How It Works
Colchicine blocks the inflammation caused by uric acid crystals.
Why It Is Used
Colchicine has long been used to relieve acute gout attacks. It does not lower the level of uric acid. But in low doses, it does reduce the chance of future gout attacks.
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 medications, such as probenecid (Probalan) or sulfinpyrazone (Anturane), which lower uric acid levels, or allopurinol (Zyloprim), which blocks uric acid production.
Colchicine is avoided or used with caution in people who have:
- Kidney disease.
- Liver disease.
- Inflammatory bowel disease .
- A low white blood cell count.
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.
Most people who take colchicine in doses that are high enough to be effective for an acute attack develop stomach problems, such as cramping, nausea, diarrhea, or vomiting.
Common, mild side effects include:
Serious side effects of colchicine include bone marrow problems and muscle inflammation. Colchicine is usually avoided or the dose adjusted in people who have reduced kidney function.
See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug Reference is not available in all systems.)
What To Think About
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are equally effective and cause less nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea than colchicine. But colchicine does not make stomach ulcers worse.
If you have kidney or liver problems, talk to your doctor before and/or during taking colchicine. This medicine may cause existing kidney or liver conditions to get worse and could lead to severe adverse reactions and even death.
Last Updated: July 11, 2008