Colchicine is a medicine used to treat or prevent gout flares (worsening in severity of a disease). It can also be used to treat or prevent symptoms in Behcet's disease. Colchicine prevents white blood cells from travelling into the affected areas, therefore reduces inflammation and helps to reduce symptoms such as joint pain, swelling and ulcers.
In addition, Colchicine reduces symptoms during a flare such as joint pain and swelling in gout and Behcet's disease, as well as ulcers in the mouth or genitals and erythema nodosum (inflammed lumps below the skin surface) in Behcet's disease.
Side effects may occur when taking Colchicine, but the majority of these effects tend to resolve spontaneously. Common side effects include:
The chance of side effects is lower when lower dose is used for prevention purpose.
Consult your doctor or pharmacist about any symptoms that becomes bothersome.
Colchicine may interact with other medicine or supplement that you are taking.
Inform the doctor, pharmacist or specialty nurse before starting any medicines and supplements. Your doctor may reduce your Colchicine dose when taken with medicines such as statins (a class of cholesterol lowering medicines), as they might increase the chance of you experiencing severe side effects.
Colchicine comes in 500mcg tablets.
Colchicine should be taken as prescribed by the doctor. It is usually given orally after food. The tablets should be swallowed whole, with a glass of water.
Colchicine may be given in two ways.
You may start to see improvement within a few hours especially if it is started at the first sign of a flare, but it may take up to several weeks to experience its full benefit when you are using it regularly for gout prevention or Behcet's disease. When used for prevention purpose, your doctor may decide to stop Colchicine when you have no symptoms for a few months.
If you forget to take a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the dose you missed. Resume the next dose at regular timining. Do not double the dose to make up for the missed dose
STOP taking Colchicine and let your doctor know if you develop an allergic reaction. Rash due to allergic reaction to Colchicine is rare. Possible symptoms of allergic reaction are:
STOP taking Colchicine and seek medical attention immediately if you experience any of the rare but severe side effects:
While having treatment with Colchicine, you must see your doctor as scheduled to monitor response to treatment and minimize any possible side effect.
There are a number of lifestyle changes that help to reduce the risk of having a gout attack. These include:
Your doctor and pharmacist will advise you about the changes which could benefit you.
For female patient, do inform your doctor if you are pregnant, planning for pregnancy or breastfeeding. Colchicine can be continued during pregnancy and breastfeeding.