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Colchicine - Additional Information

How LONG does it take for the medicine to be EFFECTIVE?

  • Colchicine can be started during a sudden gout attack and often works straightaway
  • Relief usually begins 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 do I seek medical attention IMMEDIATELY?

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:

  • rash, hives, or itching
  • red, swollen, blistered or peeling skin with or without fever
  • wheezing or tightness in the chest or throat
  • trouble breathing or talking
  • unusual hoarseness
  • swelling of the mouth, face, lips, tongue or throat

STOP taking Colchicine and seek medical attention immediately if you experience any of the rare but severe side effects:

  • liver problems - possible symptoms are dark urine, feeling tired, lack of appetite, nausea, abdominal pain, light-coloured stools, vomiting, or yellow skin or eyes
  • muscle problems – possible symptoms are unusual muscle pain that persists, dark urine

While having treatment with Colchicine, you must see your doctor as scheduled to monitor response to treatment and minimize any possible side effect.


  • Colchicine can interact with other medicines. You should tell your doctor or pharmacist about all medicines you are taking or plan to take. This includes over the counter herbal medicines. You should also mention your treatment when you see other healthcare professionals
  • Colchicine can usually be taken safely with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), as long as your kidney function is reasonably normal
  • Over the counter pain relievers (e.g. paracetamol), can be used while taking colchicine provided you take them as directed

What special DIETARY instructions should I follow?

There are a number of lifestyle changes that help to reduce the risk of having a gout attack. These include:

  • losing weight (if you are overweight)
  • drinking adequate water
  • stopping purine-rich diet such as organ meat, meat extracts, gravies, and beer.

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.

In SUMMARY… what you need to know about colchicine?

  • Colchicine is usually taken once or twice daily for prevention of gout attack
  • Long-term use of colchicine is not normally required unless as specified by the doctor.
  • If you forget to take a dose, do not double the dose to make up for the missed dose
  • If you experience nausea, vomiting or diarrhea during treatment for an acute attack, you should stop taking the medicine
  • Colchicine can interact with other medicines. You should tell your doctor or pharmacist about all medicines you are taking or plan to take
  • If you are pregnant or considering having a child, you should discuss this with your doctor before beginning this medication
  • If you have further questions about Colchicine, please call ______________________ (office number) to discuss with your doctor / pharmacist / specialty nurse (please circle as appropriate).
  • Updated on Friday, June 12, 2015
  • Article contributed by Department of Pharmacy, Rheumatology & Immunology Singapore General Hospital

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