Colchicine

Drug Name
Colchicine

Brand Name(s)
Colchicine-Odan, generics

Drug Class
Prescription medication

Colchicine is used to help treat and prevent gout attacks.

  • What is colchicine used for?

    Colchicine is used to help treat and prevent gout attacks.

  • How is colchicine administered?

    Colchicine is taken orally in pill form.

  • What is the typical dose and when do I take it?

    Colchicine is available in 0.6 mg tablets.

    The usual dose to treat acute gout attacks is:

    • 1.2 mg at the first sign of flare, then
    •  0.6 mg in 1 hour
    • Start preventative doses 12 hours later

    The usual dose to prevent gout attacks is:

    • 0.6 mg once to twice daily

    For best results colchicine should be started within 24 hours of a gout attack.

    If you are starting allopurinol your prescriber may recommend taking 0.6 mg once or twice daily for  3 – 6 months.

    If you have poor kidney function and you will be taken colchicine for more than 10 days you may need a lower daily dose.  Please discuss this with your healthcare provider.

  • How long will it take to work?

    Colchicine typically begins to take effect within one hour.

  • When should I not take colchicine and call my doctor?

    Colchicine may not be appropriate if you have stomach ulcers or other serious stomach conditions.  Colchicine may not be appropriate if you have abnormal blood counts or severe kidney problems.  Please talk to your prescriber about this before starting colchicine. 

    Colchicine has not been well studied in pregnancy. Colchicine does pass into breast milk. Colchicine is likely safe in breast feeding although human data is limited.  Colchicine is considered by the American Academy of Pediatrics to be compatible with breastfeeding.  Before starting colchicine tell your healthcare provider if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant. 

    Colchicine interacts with a number of other medications and grape fruit juice. Please speak with your healthcare provider about whether any of the other medications you currently take interact with colchicine.

    Anyone who is hypersensitive to colchicine or has had a previous allergic reaction to colchicine should avoid the medication.

  • What are the side effects of colchicine?

    Colchicine can cause a number of stomach issues.  The most common side effect of colchicine is diarrhea.  At higher doses colchicine can also cause abdominal pain/cramps, nausea and vomiting. 

    Rarely, when used for long periods of time, colchicine can affect your muscles.  If you experience any muscle pain or weakness while taking colchicine, let your prescriber know.

  • What helps to reduce side effects?

    Take your colchicine as prescribed and contact your health-care provider if you have any concerns while taking the medication.

    To reduce severe stomach issues your prescriber may reduce your dose.

    Drinking alcohol can flare your gout.  It is best to avoid alcohol if you have gout.

  • Do I need any monitoring while taking colchicine?

    Blood tests may be required every 6 months while you are talking colchicine.   This will help check your blood counts, kidney function and follow the activity of your gout.

This information was last updated January 2020, with expert advice from:

Jason Kielly, B.Sc. (Pharm.), Pharm.D.
Associate Professor, School of Pharmacy, Memorial University of Newfoundland
Clinical Pharmacist, Rheumatic Health Program, Eastern Health

Hamidreza Izadpanah , Pharm.D.

Go Back to Drug Index