Colchicine for gout

Gout and Colchicine

Colchicine for gout attacks

Colchicine is a prescription drug (Brand Name: Colcrys) that treats gout extracted from plants of the genus Colchicum, a very poisonous plant with no know antidote and known for its’ toxicity. It has been around for about 2000 years as an effective gout treatment and its’ modern use in tablet form began in 1936. Benjamin Franklin suffered from gout and known to have brought Colchicum plants from Europe.

How does colchicine work?

Colchicine does not lower uric acid levels but works to block the inflammation caused by uric acid crystals, to relieve you of the pain, working very fast usually within 12-24 hours, slowing the inflammation. Whenever I get a gout attack, it is my go to drug, rushing to the doctor’s office to get a prescription and take about 3-4 a day for the first 2 days, then about 2 daily for another 2 days after that. It’s the quick-fix miracle drug for us gout sufferers, that’s for sure! Supposedly, it doesn’t work for everyone but it does have a good pain reduction success rate, around 75% and colchicine should be taken within 12 hours of an attack to work most effectively. Make sure to drink 12 to 15 glasses of 8oz of water daily when taking colchicine making the drug work more effectively for you.

The important part about taking colchicine is getting the dosage right, people have died from overdoses. The FDA recommended use is to take 1.2mg followed by 0.6mg one hour later is enough for a day totalling 1.8mg during a gout attack and to prevent gout attacks it is recommended to take 0.6mg once or twice a day for anyone older than 16 years old with a maximum dosage of 1.2mg a day. Rheumatologists now advise against taking unnecessary colchicine for long term preventative gout treatment and on a daily basis you should stop after taking 2 tablets and you should stop it after first few weeks of uric acid lowering therapy. I personally stop it once my big toe pain subsides enough that I can tolerate the pain of walking which is usually 4-5 days.

Tart Cherry Extract for Gout

What are the side effects?

If you suffer from kidney disease, liver disease, bone marrow disorders, inflammatory bowel disease or a low white blood cell count, you should not take colchicine and usually means the elderly should refrain from taking it.

The side effects that I have personally experienced are usually diarrhea, going to the bathroom every few hours and stomach cramps on the days I take 3-4 right after an attack. Other side effects include vomiting and nausea. It is very important to pay attention on how colchicine affects you personally and allopurinol is a better drug for long term treatment of gout. Also allopurinol should be slowly introduced after a gout attack because in the beginning it can also trigger a gout attack. Remember colchicine stops an attack in its’ tracks while allopurinol works to reduce the uric acid levels in your body. Colchicine is for limited use while allopurinol is for long term use.

It was announced in January 2015 from Takeda Pharmaceuticals USA, the manufacturer of colchicine sold as Colcrys for acute gout flares, that a generic version will hit the market soon but didn’t specify on the new price. Presently brand-name Colcrys retails for roughly $6 per pill. There has been a lot of controversy ever since the product was approved in 2009 by the FDA since generic versions were ordered out of the market and there was a monopoly on the drug which explained the high cost of the pill. This is good news for gout sufferers who will now be able to afford colchicine at a lower and more affordable price.

In conclusion, a new gout drug is under development called Arcalyst supposedly has fewer side effects than colchicine serving the same role colchicine offers now for the gout sufferer. Make sure to also tell your doctor about any other medications you may be taking that may not mix too well with colchicine and create havoc for your health. What have been your experiences with colchicine, I’d like to hear them?

Posted by Spiro Koulouris

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28 Comments

  • Tiago

    Reply Reply May 18, 2017

    Hi, in my case it all started when hit a stone with my toe, extremely hard while rafting. Doctor said it was gout because nothing came out of a radiography. A few tests later I found out I have a high uric acid count.

    For a few year years I thought it was just coincidence – had pain that was exactly like the one when hitting that rock.
    A few years later I had it on another toe!

    Since then I have it a few times a year. Toes, ankle, knees like something is traveling inside me.
    Colchicine and advil (or equivalent in my country Portugal) work. Usually 2 days of pain and rest, followed by a few weeks without much exercise or stress on that limb.

    Have it for 20 years, don’t take the allopurinol (zyloric) like I should because I forget, and sometimes doesn’t really work.
    I tried sodium bicarbonate one and it worked in 5 minutes but by coincidence had a heart exam the day after, and had to be canceled because my blood pressure was extremely high… Not sure if it’s related but never drank it again.
    I’m fatter that I should be, but when it started I was fit.

    Keep sharing, someday we will find out how to fix it!

  • BERNIE Hilditch

    Reply Reply January 14, 2016

    Isuffer with gout on the top of my feet. I’ve noticed sometimes when I exhale I get shooting pain. Is this normal in gout?

    • Spiro Koulouris

      Reply Reply January 14, 2016

      Hi Bernie!

      Never heard of shooting pain while exhaling air. I don’t know to tell you the truth.

  • Marty

    Reply Reply December 8, 2015

    Interesting comment from Ian Jones on 8/25/2015 in regards to hurting your foot. My mom is 93, and she goes to a foot doctor to get her toe nails cut every two months. She has severe ingrown toe nails; which were taken out just 4 days ago. Yesterday she complained that her toe was hurting; didn’t make any sense because she had just been to the Dr. I gave her the Cochise 0.6 mg that we have; sure enough, she has gout.

    • BERNIE Hilditch

      Reply Reply January 19, 2016

      OK thanks trust me to have a weird symptom.

  • Mike

    Reply Reply October 5, 2015

    I’ve a few blood and urine tests that are off the normal range at the moment – I think they’ve probably been off for years – gradually getting worse. I suspect the gout is a result of that – as were the headaches. Got diabetes (this year) and high blood pressure to deal with too – I reckon they’re all connected somehow. Hypothalamus issues ????????? Seen the GP regularly. Waiting for endocrinology appointment – takes ages with UK’s NHS system!

    NHS is absolutely fantastic after a really bad car smash but getting to the bottom of chronic ailments it’s slower than a snail.

  • Mike

    Reply Reply October 4, 2015

    Hi,

    I’m going to see if I can get hold of colchicine as it appears to be used as a gout test. I get back ache while sleeping. Had it years but only in flares. Gout seems to fit the bill and be the more likely reason.

    Looking at poor ventilation due to depressed breathing while sleeping. O2 levels drop and apparently oxygen-starved cells produce more purine – leading to higher uric acid levels hence gout! It usually settles within 2 hours of getting up.

    Spine was damaged in accident in 1997 – suspect that’s why I get the symptoms there rather than toes.

    A great website you have there – very comprehensive.

    Diet should be a factor – I think it’s kidney problems at the heart of the issue. I need an endocrinologist on the case!

    All the best.

    Mike

    • Spiro Koulouris

      Reply Reply October 4, 2015

      Hi Mike!

      Thanks for the comment. Colchicine can be prescribed by your doctor but it’s best to treat a gout attack and then go on allopurinol to maintain healthy uric acid levels long term and avoid future gout attacks. Diet can only help! It can’t make it worse!

      Spiro

  • Ian Jones

    Reply Reply August 25, 2015

    Colchicine was what I took first time for gout when I lived in Malaysia. It was cheap as chips and did the job quickly. I tried to control with diet but I get a flare up 1 – 2 times a year in feet (starts with one big toe, I clear it then goes to next and I clear it).
    Now I live in Australia and Colchicine is pretty cheap a bottle costs me about $15 or less. (Called Colgout or Lengout here).

    Many people don’t know of it which is crazy.
    Generally sticking off red meats / limiting I do ok, but interesting to read what people say about if they hurt their feet they get gout, I’m finding that a bit.

    I’m on BP Meds and Allopurinol. Never heard from my BP /Kidney Specialist that Allopurinol has a problem with my BP meds (Karvezide and tritace).

    I drink a lot of cherry juice mixed about 4:1 with water as my normal drink – tastes great.
    Just had another double attack (1 foot then other, since starting tae kwon do – pushups don’t agree with my toes) about 1 week of colchicine in total plus some ibupfrofen. But only got one day of bad pain needing stick so kept it off. Hoping to get back to martial arts again soon but didn’t go tonight since still a bit sore.

    Great website, loads of info sharing! Thanks.

  • Good stuff John! Just watch that beer, it has caused me so much trouble in the past.

    • Sam

      Reply Reply August 18, 2015

      I usually have a flair up about one to two times a year> usually in my feet> if I hurt my feet in any way I usually end up with a flair up>> I take COLCHICINE .06 Day 1
      .06 day 2
      .03 day 3
      .03 day 4
      This usually clears my flair up but I also take herbs twice a day which I believe keeps me from having more flairs> I’m also taking The apple cider vineger/with mother for a couple months>>> when I do have a flair up it ‘s not as bad as my first flairs>my VA doc has me on hper blood pills to keep b/p down but i found out one of the pills also can give you gout>> According to my medical books ALLOPURINO and my b/p meds don’t mix so I tell my VA doc no Allopurino>With what i have said above seems to be working for me>I’m 72 years old so I have to watch what I’m doing>>>Also BAKING SODA is said to increase Blood Pressure so be careful on that note

  • John Weiss

    Reply Reply July 3, 2014

    Colchicine relieved my gout symptoms in hours the first (and only?) attack I’ve experienced. The soreness and swelling were gone in a week. Miracle drug!

    I have since reduced my beer intake to a couple a day at most; I’m taking a tart cherry capsule a couple of times a day and have not had (thank the gods!) incident since.

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