Colchicine Side Effects

Colchicine side effects can prevent this gout medicine being used for pain relief.

Investigations leading to 2010 licensing of colchicine as Colcrys in the USA, have shown that some side-effects are due to the way colchicine has been prescribed in the past. Specifically, those gout studies found that the dose of colchicine was too high in many cases.

This colchicine side effects page covers:

Effects of not using colchicine

I like to introduce side effects with a short consideration of the main benefits of the gout treatment. This allows you to balance the potential side effects of colchicine against the potential lost benefits. If in doubt, you should ask your doctor for a proper risk assessment that will balance your specific expectations against your personal risk profile, which takes full account of your medical history and current health status.

Colchicine is an effective gout pain relief. It’s ability to halt, or dramatically inhibit, the spread of inflammation makes it more effective than general-purpose pain relief if used early enough. If you choose not to take it, the effects might be increased pain. This can be mitigated by other forms of pain relief – i.e. the risks of not taking colchicine are not serious.

General Colchicine Side Effects

You must read the product label for potential side-effects. If in doubt, consult your doctor immediately. In the past, most side effects have related to diarrhea, nausea, stomach upset, or sickness. In many cases, this has been due to taking more than two tablets per day. However, you might be especially sensitive, and experience these symptoms even at low doses. If so, discuss other forms of pain relief with your doctor or pharmacist.

Colchicine Side Effects: Overuse

Colchicine is a poison. It slows down your basic metabolic processes by inhibiting cell division. It is good when this slows down inflammation, but it must be restricted to low dose or it will kill you. Always take as advised, but never more than one per hour, and never more than three per day. If you see instructions for using more than this, ignore them. Such instructions are dangerously out of date.

Colchicine Side Effects Long Term

Colchicine for gout is intended to be used up to six months at the beginning of uric acid treatment. So, long-term use is not expected in gout patients. However, some gout sufferers do not get the correct uric acid target advice. Therefore they might end up taking colchicine for several years. But, we know that long-term use of daily colchicine might cause side effects. Because a case study of one long-term colchicine user showed breathing difficulties[1].

Note that this case study is not of a gout patient. So, properly managed gout patients are unlikely to be at risk of colchicine side effects long-term.

Colchicine Side Effects With Other Drugs

Colchicine is very effective as part of a combination package where it is used to inhibit inflammation backed by second and third line attack that relieves inflammation then blocks pain.

Be careful if you are being treated for any other health problem, or if you are taking supplements. There are many medicines that can react badly with colchicine, so please double-check with your doctor and pharmacist before combining colchicine with any other treatment.

What are the long term side effects of colchicine?

Colchicine Side Effects: Next Steps

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Colchicine Side Effects References

  1. Tanios, Maged A., Hesham El Gamal, Scott K. Epstein, and Paul M. Hassoun. “Severe respiratory muscle weakness related to long-term colchicine therapy.” Respiratory care 49, no. 2 (2004): 189-191. Colchicine Causes Breathing Difficulty PDF.


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