• Colchicine

Colchicine tablets are used to treat gout symptoms. The medication works by limiting the number of white blood cells that travel to the inflamed joint area thus reducing swelling.

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One tablet contains 500 micrograms of colchicine which is also the name of the active ingredient. The recommended dosage will differ depending on whether you are treating a flare up of gout or preventing a flare up from occurring. Please refer to your doctor.

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Colchicine tablets are manufactured by Actavis and are used to treat the often painful symptoms of gout. Colchicine is also the name of the medicine’s active ingredient that helps ease the swelling found in joints where gout is present.

  1. Alternative to anti-inflammatory medication
  2. Helps reduce painful joint swelling
  3. 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 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 the person’s middle age. However, this does not mean that females and younger people do not get diagnosed with gout, anyone can develop symptoms. 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) are often prescribed to help relieve gout symptoms. However, for those who cannot tolerate this medication or do not notice any improvements when taking them, other treatments are available to buy such as Colchicine.

Colchicine is extracted from the crocus plant. It works to reduce the painful swelling associated with gout by preventing excess amounts of 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, therefore by preventing them from reaching their destination the swelling defuses and the pain eases.

Colchicine is available to buy online through our GPhC-registered pharmacy. All you need to do is take a few minutes to complete our easy-to-use health questionnaire so that a doctor can review your individual case. Once they have approved this medication for you, an electronic prescription will be transferred to our UK-based pharmacy. The pharmacy will dispense your item and send it via secure courier so that it arrives at your door the next business day. You can even have your medication arrive on a Saturday for an extra fee.

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How to use Colchicine

It is important that you carefully follow the pharmacist’s instructions throughout your course of Colchicine treatment. Be sure to fully read and understand the enclosed patient information leaflet before commencing use of this medication. Your adherence to the guidelines will help minimise your risk of side effects and get you the best result from the product.

  1. Use only as directed.
  2. Swallow the tablet whole with a glass of water.
  3. Do not exceed the stated dose as this medication can be toxic and in extreme cases cause fatalities.
  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.

Gout flare-up

  1. The usual dose is two tablets initially followed by one single tablet after an hour has passed. A 12 hour gap should then be taken before the next tablet. At this stage no more than three tablets should be taken in one 24 hour period.
  2. Treatment should end once the pain has eased or when a total of no more than 12 tablets has been taken.
  3. Do not exceed the 12 tablet limit during one single course of Colchicine.

Gout prevention

  1. The usual dose for gout prevention is one tablet taken twice daily.
  2. 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. 

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Colchicine side effects

All forms of medication present the risk of side effects and Colchicine is no exception. Not every user 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

When you complete our health consultation you should inform the doctor of any medication you are taking or have recently taken. This is because there is a chance that they could interfere with the efficiency of this product.

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.

Patients should avoid drinking grapefruit juice when using this medication.

Conditions to look out for

You will also need to provide information on any present or past medical conditions. This includes but is not limited to the following: severe blood disorders and heart, digestive system, kidney or liver problems.

Females of childbearing age and those who are pregnant or breastfeeding should not use this product.

Q&A: our Colchicine discussion forum

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 women of childbearing age, those who are pregnant, trying to conceive or are breastfeeding.

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?

Our online health consultation can help you find out if Colchicine can treat your gout symptoms. The answers you provide will be confidentially reviewed by one of our prescribers who will then make a decision about the suitability of this product. Once approved, your order will be passed to our dispensing pharmacy who will ship your items so that they arrive at your door the next working day.

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