In this session, we will be discussing the consumer medication information for colchicine, trade name ColcrysTM.
What it’s for & How to take
Colchicine is used to prevent gout attacks and to relieve the sharp pain of a gout attack after it has started. Gout presents as a sudden and sharp pain in one or more joints and is caused by a high level of uric acid.
This medication is also used to treat a condition known as familial Mediterranean fever which is a disease that causes fever, pain, and swelling of the stomach area, lungs, and joints in adults and children 4 years of age and older.
Uric acid builds up when your kidneys are not able to remove it from your body fast enough. Extra uric acid may form tiny sharp crystals which may cause an intense, painful swelling. Over time, these crystals form around your joints as well as in your kidneys. This may lead to painful gout attacks, arthritis and kidney stones.
Colchicine works by blocking the swelling and other symptoms of gout and Mediterranean fever. Colchicine is not considered a pain medication and should not be used to treat pain from other causes.
Your dose of colchicine will depend on whether you are taking this medication to prevent or treat a gout attack or treating Mediterranean fever. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. You may take colchicine with or without food.
If you are taking colchicine on a regular schedule and you forget to take a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it is near the time of your next dose, skip it and continue with your normal dose time. Do not take a double dose to make up the missed dose.
Warnings & Cautions
- Alcohol may decrease the effectiveness of colchicine. Limit alcohol consumption while taking this medication.
- Avoid eating grapefruit or drinking grapefruit juice while taking colchicine. Grapefruit may increase the level of this medication in your body and cause dangerous side effects.
- Let your pharmacist or doctor know if you are pregnant or breastfeeding before taking this medication.
Interactions & Side Effects
- Tell your pharmacist or doctor all your medication allergies so they may determine if colchicine is safe for you to take.
- Avoid dangerous drug interactions. Tell your pharmacist or doctor all the other medication you are taking, including over the counter supplements, even if you don’t take them very often.
- Ask your doctor if this medication is safe to take with your current health conditions. Tell your doctor if you have liver or kidney disease or any other medical conditions.
- While taking colchicine, you may feel some upset stomach, diarrhea or perhaps some stomach cramping or pain. If these or any other unwanted side effects persist, contact your doctor or pharmacist to talk about it with them.
- Call your doctor right away if you have any muscle pain or weakness, unusual tiredness, a pale grayness of your lips or tongue, or any signs of infection.
If you have any questions about what you have heard, contact your pharmacist or doctor. This session does not include all the potential interactions or side effects that this medication may cause. Ask your pharmacist how your medication should be stored and how you should dispose of it when you are done taking it. Do not share your medication with anyone, ever. Remember, this is not meant to replace your counseling session with your pharmacist. In case of overdose, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222.