Colchicine

Colchicine

Colchicine tablets are used to prevent gout symptoms. The work by reducing white blood cell activity in response to inflammation.

Colchicine is not available from our UK pharmacy. If you are having a gout attack and are seeking to obtain or renew a prescription for this item, you should see your doctor in person.

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PLEASE NOTE: This treatment is not available through our online pharmacy service. This page is for information only. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms related to the condition(s) this medication treats, we strongly recommend that you see your GP in person.
Description

Colchicine tablets are manufactured by Actavis and are used to prevent gout flare-ups. Colchicine is also the name of the active ingredient of the medicine which helps ease the swelling found in joints where gout is present.

  1. Defends against flare-ups
  2. Easy-to-take tablet treatment

Gout is a type of arthritis which affects joints making them swollen and sore. Attacks of the condition can occur due to a buildup of uric acid, also known as urate. The balance of uric acid in the body is usually maintained by the kidneys as the majority of this waste product is passed out in urine and faeces. However, for some people the regulation of this waste product is disrupted and too much uric acid can be left in the body allowing for small crystals of sodium urate to form in the spaces in and around the joints. Over time the build up of these grit-like crystals can irritate the joint and the surrounding areas causing inflammation and discomfort.

This condition is commonly associated with males and older age groups, with the first instances of flare-ups presenting themselves in middle age. However, the condition does occur in women and younger people too. Certain lifestyle factors are thought to increase your chances of getting gout such as being overweight, having high blood pressure or diabetes, eating a diet rich in purines which are found in sardines and liver, and drinking too much alcohol or sugar sweetened drinks.

When treating gout one of the first things your doctor might suggest is making positive changes to your lifestyle. This might involve losing weight if you are overweight by adopting a healthy diet, reducing your alcohol intake, removing sugary drinks from your diet and ensuring you are drinking sufficient amounts of water throughout the day.

During a gout attack you should rest the affected limb, keep it raised if possible and apply ice packs to relieve swelling. If gout is left untreated it can in some cases lead to permanent joint damage, kidney stones and visible bumps forming under the skin known as tophi. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may also be prescribed to help relieve gout symptoms during an attack.

This treatment is used to both treat and prevent flare-ups. If you are having a flare-up of symptoms, or have not been previously told you have gout but think you may be developing symptoms for the first time, you should see your doctor in person.

Colchicine is extracted from the crocus plant. It works by preventing white blood cells from travelling to the affected joints. Too many white blood cells cause lactic acid and other inflammatory enzymes to form in the joint area; so by preventing them, the medicine helps to fend off flare-ups.

Colchicine is not available to buy online through our pharmacy. If you are experiencing symptoms of an active gout flare-up, you should see your GP.

Page last reviewed:  Wednesday, Apr 26 2017
Directions

It is important that you carefully follow the pharmacist’s instructions throughout your course of Colchicine treatment. Read the enclosed patient information leaflet before commencing use of this medication. Your adherence to the guidelines will help minimise your risk of side effects.

  1. Use only as directed.
  2. Swallow the tablet whole with a glass of water.
  3. Do not exceed the prescribed dose as doing so can cause serious harm.
  4. If you have missed a dose, do not double up on tablets. Instead you should take your tablet as soon as you remember or wait until the time of your next scheduled tablet.
  5. The usual dose for gout prevention is one tablet taken twice daily.
  6. Your doctor or prescribing clinician will advise you how many days you should take the medication for.

Patients should not drink grapefruit juice while using this treatment, as doing so may increase blood levels of the drug and cause side effects. Refer to the leaflet for more information. 

The information provided here should only be referred to as a guide. Further details can be found inside the pack of Colchicine or provided by your pharmacist or doctor.

Download PDF

Page last reviewed:  Wednesday, Apr 26 2017
Side effects & Warnings

All forms of medication present a risk of side effects and Colchicine is no exception. Not everyone will experience them but it is important to be aware so that you can take the appropriate action if they should occur.

Stop taking Colchicine immediately and seek urgent medical attention if you feel nauseous, are sick, have stomach pain or diarrhoea.

Frequency unknown:

Fever, sore throat, excessive bleeding, bruising, skin problems, nerve pain, weakness or numbness, gastrointestinal bleeding, liver damage, hair loss, rash, weak muscles, kidney problems, irregular or absence of menstrual periods, dysmenorrhoea, inhibited sperm count.

This list of side effects is not exhaustive and further attention should be paid to the patient information leaflet enclosed with your prescription.

Taking it with other medications

Colchicine may interact with the following medications potentially causing negative side effects: antibiotics such as clarithromycin, erythromycin and telithromycin; antiviral drugs such as ritonavir, atazanavir and indinavir; ciclosporin; antifungal medicines such as ketoconazole, itraconazole and voriconazole; verapamil; diltiazem; disulfram; cimetidine; tolbutamide; digoxin; fibrates and statins.

Conditions to look out for

This item may not be suitable for those with the following: severe blood disorders and heart, digestive system, kidney or liver problems.

Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should not use this product. 

Pregnancy and breastfeeding

This medicine must not be taken during pregnancy or breastfeeding, or if you are trying to conceive.

If you are able to become pregnant, you must ensure you are using effective contraception while using this treatment.

Driving and using machinery

Do not drive or use machines if you experience any side effects which may inhibit your capacity to do so safely, such as dizziness or tiredness.

Food and drink

Grapefruit and grapefruit juice may increase the risk of side effects, and should therefore be avoided.

Lactose intolerance

This medication contains lactose. Tell your prescriber if you have any sugar intolerances.

Page last reviewed:  Wednesday, Apr 26 2017
Please read the patient information leaflet for this medicine fully before use:

Q&A

Can I still drink alcohol?

There are no known interactions between this medication and alcohol. However, drinking alcohol can exacerbate gout symptoms and therefore it may benefit you to avoid it during treatment.

Drinking grapefruit juice while using this medicine may cause interactions, therefore you should avoid doing so.

Will I still be able to drive?

Yes. However, if you feel that this product causes any side effects which might impede your driving then you should refrain from doing so and consult your doctor.

Can I take this medicine while pregnant?

No. Colchicine is not suitable for those who are pregnant, trying to conceive or are breastfeeding. Women of childbearing age must not take this medication unless they are using effective contraception.

How should I store it?

Store the tablets in their original packaging in order to protect them from light and keep away from children.

Am I allergic to anything in the medicine?

You should not use this product if you are allergic to any of the following ingredients: colchicine, lactose monohydrate, microcrystalline cellulose, pregelatinised starch, sodium starch glycolate, magnesium stearate.

Is it available over-the-counter?

No. You require a prescription in order to buy Colchicine from a UK pharmacy.

Is it right for me?

This treatment is not available to buy online. Patients with active gout symptoms should see their GP in person, so that they can have their condition examined and get the most appropriate treatment.

Page last reviewed:  Wednesday, Apr 26 2017
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