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The dose of colchicine that would induce significant toxicity for an individual is unknown. Fatalities have been reported in patients after ingesting a dose as low as 7 mg over a 4-day period, while other patients have reportedly survived after ingesting more than 60 mg. A review of 150 patients who overdosed on colchicine found that those who ingested less than 0.5 mg/kg survived and tended to have milder adverse reactions, such as gastrointestinal symptoms, whereas those who ingested from 0.5 to 0.8 mg/kg had more severe adverse reactions, including myelosuppression. There was 100% mortality among patients who ingested more than 0.8 mg/kg.
- The first stage of acute colchicine toxicity typically begins within 24 hours of ingestion and includes gastrointestinal symptoms such as abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and significant fluid loss, leading to volume depletion. Peripheral leukocytosis may also be seen.
- Life-threatening complications occur during the second stage, which occurs 24 to 72 hours after drug administration, attributed to multi-organ failure and its associated consequences. Death usually results from respiratory depression and cardiovascular collapse. If the patient survives, recovery of multi-organ injury may be accompanied by rebound leukocytosis and alopecia starting about 1 week after the initial ingestion.
- Treatment of colchicine overdose should begin with gastric lavage and measures to prevent shock. Otherwise, treatment is symptomatic and supportive. No specific antidote is known. Colchicine is not effectively removed by hemodialysis [See Pharmacokinetics].
Patients with renal or hepatic impairment should not be given colchicine capsules with drugs that inhibit both P-glycoprotein and CYP3A4 inhibitors [See DRUG INTERACTIONS]. Combining these dual inhibitors with colchicine in patients with renal or hepatic impairment has resulted in life-threatening or fatal colchicine toxicity.
Patients with both renal and hepatic impairment should not be given colchicine capsules.This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.
Last reviewed on RxList: 8/31/2016
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