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Colchicine oral

Updated 2 Feb 2023 | Other antigout


Oral formulations of colchicine.

Drugs List

  • colchicine 500microgram tablets
  • Therapeutic Indications


    Gout (prophylaxis)
    Gout - acute

    Treatment of acute gout.
    Prophylaxis of acute gout, during initial therapy with allopurinol and uricosuric drugs.

    Unlicensed Uses

    Familial Mediterranean fever : prophylaxis

    Prophylaxis of familial Mediterranean fever (recurrent polyserositis).



    Treatment of acute gout
    Initial dose 1mg, followed by 500micrograms two to three times a day until acute gout resolves. Discontinue treatment if no improvement occurs after 2 to 3 days.
    Total dose should not exceed 6mg per course and the course should not be repeated within 3 days.

    The following alternative dosing schedule may be suitable:
    1mg initially, followed by 500micrograms after 1 hour. No further tablets should be taken for 12 hours.
    After 12 hours, treatment can be resumed if necessary with a maximum dose of 500micrograms every 8 hours until symptoms are relieved.
    Total dose should not exceed 6mg per course and the course should not be repeated within three days.

    Prophylaxis during initial treatment with allopurinol or uricosuric drugs
    500micrograms once daily to 500micrograms twice daily, or 1mg once daily.

    Prophylaxis of familial Mediterranean fever (unlicensed)
    500micrograms to 2mg once daily.

    Patients with Renal Impairment

    Glomerular filtration rate (GFR)
    GFR 10 to 50ml/minute: Reduce dose or increase dosage interval by 50%.
    GFR less than 10ml/minute: 500micrograms three to four times a day. Maximum total dose of 3mg.


    Children under 18 years
    Haematological disorder
    Severe hepatic impairment
    Severe renal impairment

    Precautions and Warnings

    Females of childbearing potential
    Cardiac disorder
    Gastrointestinal disorder
    Glucose-galactose malabsorption syndrome
    Hepatic impairment
    Lactose intolerance
    Renal impairment

    Advise ability to drive/operate machinery may be affected by side effects
    Contains lactose
    Monitor blood counts regularly
    Advise patient to seek urgent medical advice if blood dyscrasias suspected
    Discontinue if blood dyscrasia develops
    Discontinue if severe nausea, vomiting or abdominal distress occurs
    Discontinue therapy if marked diarrhoea occurs
    Grapefruit juice should not be taken simultaneously
    Female: Contraception required during and for 3 months after treatment
    Male: Contraception required during and for 6 months after treatment
    Advise patient how to recognise signs / symptoms of blood dyscrasias

    Use with caution in elderly and debilitated patients as there is a greater risk of cumulative toxicity.

    Perform blood counts if skin abnormalities occur.

    Discontinue if toxic symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain or diarrhoea occur.

    Pregnancy and Lactation


    Colchicine is contraindicated during pregnancy.

    The manufacturer does not recommend the use of colchicine during pregnancy, and that women of childbearing age should use effective contraception during and for 3 months after treatment. If pregnancy occurs during this time genetic counselling should be offered.

    Animal studies have shown teratogenic effects. There is limited published information regarding the use of colchicine during pregnancy, therefore potential risks cannot be excluded (Briggs, 2015).


    Use with caution during breastfeeding.

    The manufacturer does not recommend the use of colchicine during breastfeeding.

    Colchicine is excreted into breast milk.

    The highest milk levels occur in the 2 to 4 hours after a dose, so avoiding breastfeeding during this time can minimise the infant dose. No adverse effects in breastfed infants have been reported (Lactmed, 2019).

    Side Effects

    Abdominal pain
    Aplastic anaemia
    Blood disorders
    Bone marrow depression
    Gastro-intestinal haemorrhage
    Hepatic damage
    Peripheral neuritis
    Pharyngolaryngeal pain
    Renal damage
    Spermatogenesis suppression
    Vitamin B12 deficiency


    It is strongly recommended that the UK National Poisons Information Service be consulted on cases of suspected or actual overdose where there is doubt over the degree of risk or about appropriate management.

    The following number will direct the caller to the relevant local centre (0844) 892 0111

    Information may be obtained if you have access to ToxBase the primary clinical toxicology database of the National Poisons Information Service. This is available via password on the internet ( ) or if this is unavailable at the backup site ( ).

    Further Information

    Last Full Review Date: April 2019

    Reference Sources

    Drugs in Pregnancy and Lactation: A Reference Guide to Fetal and Neonatal Risk, 10th edition (2015) ed. Briggs, G., Freeman, R. Wolters Kluwer Health, Philadelphia.

    The Renal Drug Handbook. Fourth Edition (2014) ed. Ashley, C and Dunleavy, A, Radcliffe Publishing Ltd, London.

    Summary of Product Characteristics: Colchicine 500 micrograms Tablets. Wockhardt UK Ltd. Revised June 2017.

    NICE - Evidence Services
    Available at:
    Last accessed: 03 April 2019.

    US National Library of Medicine. Toxicology Data Network. Drugs and Lactation Database (LactMed).
    Available at:
    Colchicine Last revised: 28 February 2019
    Last accessed: 03 April 2019.

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