Colchicine is a drug used to prevent and treat sudden flare-ups of gout. Gout sufferers find that uric acid crystals deposit in their joints. The immune system then sends white blood cells to the joints in which uric acid crystals have been deposited. When these white blood cells attempt to destroy the crystals, an inflammatory response is triggered. This gives rise to pain and swelling in the joint. The drug colchicine for gout prevents white blood cells from flooding into the joint, reducing the pain and inflammation experienced.
Colchicine for gout is used for short-term gout prevention and treatment of acute gout. The medication belongs to a class of medications known as anti-gout agents. The drug should be used with caution in the elderly and in individuals with heart disease, liver disease, kidney disease and gastrointestinal conditions. Colchicine for gout is not to be used by individuals with blood dyscrasias. Pregnant and nursing women should also avoid use of this drug. This is because the safety of this drug for use during pregnancy and breastfeeding has not been established. Colchicine for gout should not be used by individuals with a known allergy to any of its ingredients.
As with all drugs, colchicine is associated with side effects. The majority of individuals who use colchicine will experience no side effects. Side effects associated with colchicine for gout use include: nausea and vomiting; rash; diarrhoea; abdominal pain; liver damage; kidney damage; bleeding from the stomach; muscle weakness; blood disorders; hair loss; a sensation of pins and needles felt in the hands and feet; decreased blood cell production by the bone marrow. Other side effects may occur.
Colchicine for gout should not be used with some medicines. For this reason, anyone considering colchicine for gout use should consult with their physician before use. This includes individuals on all medicines, including prescription-only, over-the-counter medicines, herbal medicines, and vitamin and mineral supplements. Individuals taking macrolide antibiotics, including erythromycin and clarithromycin, may find that colchicine increases the likelihood of experiencing colchicine side effects. This is because macrolide antibiotics increase the quantity of colchicine found in the bloodstream by reducing the breakdown of colchicine in the liver. If colchicine for gout is used in conjunction with the drug cyclosporin, an increased risk of muscle-related problems may result.
Colchicine comes in the form of a small tablet and is available generically. This means that it is without a brand name. The tablet is taken by mouth and can be taken with or without food. It is recommended that the drug is taken with water. The drug is available in different strength, and the strength prescribed will depend upon the severity of the gout attack and the symptoms experienced. The prescribing physician will inform an individual about the way in which to take colchicine. Individuals prescribed colchicine should not eat grapefruit or drink the juice of a grapefruit during treatment. Colchicine should be kept in cool, dry conditions and should be used only under the guidance of the prescribing general physician.