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Colchicine (By mouth)

Colchicine (KOL-chi-seen)

Treats and prevents gout attacks, gouty arthritis, and other medical problems. Also treats a rare condition called familial Mediterranean fever (FMF).

Brand Name(s):


There may be other brand names for this medicine.

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used:

You should not use this medicine if you have had an allergic reaction to colchicine. Do not take this medicine if you have kidney disease or liver disease and you are taking certain other medicines.

How to Use This Medicine:


  • Take your medicine as directed. Your dose may need to be changed several times to find what works best for you.
  • You may take this medicine with or without food.
  • Keep using this medicine for the full treatment time, even if you feel better after the first few doses.
  • This medicine should come with a Medication Guide. Ask your pharmacist for a copy if you do not have one.

If a dose is missed:

  • Take a dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, wait until then and take a regular dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up for a missed dose.

How to Store and Dispose of This Medicine:

  • Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light.
  • Ask your pharmacist, doctor, or health caregiver about the best way to dispose of any outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.
  • Keep all medicine out of the reach of children. Never share your medicine with anyone.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid:

Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.

  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are also using a cancer medicine, a medicine to treat an overactive thyroid, azathioprine (Imuran®), chloramphenicol (Chloromycetin®), cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan®), interferon, flucytosine (Ancobon®), ganciclovir (Cytovene®), phenylbutazone, or zidovudine (Retrovir®).
  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are also using amprenavir (Agenerase®), aprepitant (Emend®), cyclosporine (Gengraf®, Neoral®, or Sandimmune®), digoxin (Lanoxin®), diltiazem (Cardizem®), ranolazine (Ranexa®), verapamil (Calan®, Isoptin®, Verelan®), medicine to treat HIV or AIDS (such as atazanavir, darunavir, fosamprenavir, indinavir, lopinavir, nelfinavir, ritonavir, saquinavir, tipranavir, Aptivus®, Crixivan®, Fortovase®, Invirase®, Kaletra®, Lexiva®, Norvir®, Prezista®, Reyataz®, or Viracept®), medicine to treat an infection (such as clarithromycin, erythromycin, fluconazole, itraconazole, ketoconazole, telithromycin, Biaxin®, Ketek®, Nizoral®, or Sporanox®), medicine to treat depression (such as nefazodone, Serzone®). or medicine to lower cholesterol (such as atorvastatin, bezafibrate, fenofibrate, fenofibric acid, fluvastatin, gemfibrozil, pravastatin, simvastatin, Lipitor®, Lescol®, Lopid®, or Zocor®).
  • Do not drink alcohol while you are using this medicine.
  • Do not eat grapefruit or drink grapefruit juice while you are using this medicine.

Warnings While Using This Medicine:

  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, or if you have kidney problems, liver problems, anemia, bleeding problems, or muscle pain or weakness.
  • Tell the doctor right away if you get muscle pain, tenderness, or weakness with this medicine. This might occur when you are just starting this medicine or if your doctor tells you to increase the amount you are taking.
  • This medicine may make you bleed, bruise, or get infections more easily. Take precautions to prevent illness and injury. Avoid people who are ill, and wash your hands often. Brush and floss your teeth gently, do not play rough sports, and be careful with sharp objects.
  • Do not change your dose or stop taking this medicine without first checking with your doctor.
  • Your doctor will do lab tests at regular visits to check on the effects of this medicine. Keep all appointments.

Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine:

Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:

  • Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in your face or hands, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing
  • Bloody or black tarry stools.
  • Fever, chills, cough, sore throat, and body aches.
  • Muscle pain, tenderness, or weakness.
  • Numbness, tingling, pain, or weakness in your hands or feet.
  • Pale or gray color to your lips, tongue, or palms of your hands.
  • Red or dark brown urine.
  • Severe diarrhea or vomiting.
  • Sudden decrease in the amount of urine.
  • Unusual bleeding or bruising.
  • Unusual tiredness or weakness.

If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:

  • Hair loss.
  • Headache.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Nausea, vomiting, mild diarrhea, or stomach pain or cramps.

If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088

Last Updated: 4/4/2014

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