May 24, 2017
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Included as part of the "PRECAUTIONS" Section


Fatal Overdose

Fatal overdoses, both accidental and intentional, have been reported in adults and children who have ingested colchicine [See OVERDOSE]. Colchicine capsules should be kept out of the reach of children.

Blood Dyscrasias

Myelosuppression, leukopenia, granulocytopenia, thrombocytopenia, pancytopenia, and aplastic anemia have been reported with colchicine used in therapeutic doses.

Interactions With CYP3A4 And P-Gp Inhibitors

Because colchicine is a substrate for both the CYP3A4 metabolizing enzyme and the P-glycoprotein efflux transporter, inhibition of either of these pathways may lead to colchicine-related toxicity. Inhibition of both CYP3A4 and P-gp by dual inhibitors such as clarithromycin has been reported to produce life-threatening or fatal colchicine toxicity due to significant increases in systemic colchicine levels. Therefore, concomitant use of colchicine capsules and inhibitors of CYP3A4 or P-glycoprotein should be avoided [See DRUG INTERACTIONS]. If avoidance is not possible, reduced daily dose should be considered and the patient should be monitored closely for colchicine toxicity. Use of colchicine capsules in conjunction with drugs that inhibit both P-gp and CYP3A4 is contraindicated in patients with renal or hepatic impairment [See CONTRAINDICATIONS].

Neuromuscular Toxicity

Neuromuscular toxicity and rhabdomyolysis have been reported from chronic treatment with colchicine in therapeutic doses, especially in combination with other drugs known to cause this effect. Patients with impaired renal function and elderly patients (even those with normal renal and hepatic function) are at increased risk. Once colchicine treatment is ceased, the symptoms generally resolve within 1 week to several months.

Patient Counseling Information

Advise the patient to read the FDA-approved patient labeling (Medication Guide).

Dosing Instructions

If a dose of colchicine capsules is missed, advise the patient to take the dose as soon as possible and then return to the normal dosing schedule. However, if a dose is skipped, the patient should not double the next dose.

Fatal Overdose

Advise the patient that fatal overdoses, both accidental and intentional, have been reported in adults and children who have ingested colchicine. Colchicine capsules should be kept out of the reach of children.

Blood Dyscrasias

Advise patients that bone marrow depression with agranulocytosis, aplastic anemia, and thrombocytopenia may occur with colchicine capsules.

Drug And Food Interactions

Advise patients that many drugs or other substances may interact with colchicine capsules and some interactions could be fatal. Therefore, patients should report to their healthcare provider all of the current medications they are taking, and check with their healthcare provider before starting any new medications, including short-term medications such as antibiotics. Patients should also be advised to report the use of non-prescription medication or herbal products. Grapefruit and grapefruit juice may also interact and should not be consumed during treatment with colchicine capsules.

Neuromuscular Toxicity

Advise patients that muscle pain or weakness, tingling or numbness in fingers or toes may occur with colchicine capsules alone or when it is used with certain other drugs. Patients developing any of these signs or symptoms must discontinue colchicine capsules and seek medical evaluation immediately.

Nonclinical Toxicology

Carcinogenesis, Mutagenesis, Impairment Of Fertility


Carcinogenicity studies of colchicine have not been conducted. Due to the potential for colchicine to produce aneuploid cells (cells with an unequal number of chromosomes), colchicine presents a theoretical increased risk of malignancy.


Published studies demonstrated that colchicine was negative for mutagenicity in the bacterial reverse mutation assay. However, in vitro chromosomal aberration assays demonstrated the formation of micronuclei following colchicine treatment. Because published studies demonstrated that colchicine induces aneuploidy through the process of mitotic nondisjunction without structural DNA changes, colchicine is not considered clastogenic, although micronuclei are formed.

Impairment Of Fertility

There were no studies of the effects of colchicine capsules on fertility. However, published nonclinical studies have demonstrated that colchicine-induced disruption of microtubule formation affects meiosis and mitosis. Published reproductive studies with colchicine reported abnormal sperm morphology and reduced sperm counts in males, and interference with sperm penetration, second meiotic division, and normal cleavage in females.

Case reports and epidemiology studies in human male subjects on colchicine therapy indicate that infertility from colchicine is rare. A case report indicated that azoospermia was reversed when therapy was stopped. Case reports and epidemiology studies in female subjects on colchicine therapy have not established a clear relationship between colchicine use and female infertility.

Use In Specific Populations

Use In Pregnancy

Pregnancy Category C

There are no adequate and well-controlled studies with colchicine capsules in pregnant women. Colchicine crosses the human placenta. Developmental studies in animals were not conducted with colchicine capsules, however published animal reproduction and development studies with colchicine demonstrated embryofetal toxicity, teratogenicity, and altered postnatal development at exposures within or above the clinical therapeutic range. Colchicine should be used during pregnancy only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus.

Labor And Delivery

The effect of colchicine on labor and delivery is unknown.

Use In Nursing Mothers

Colchicine is excreted into human milk. Limited information suggests that infants exclusively breastfed receive less than 10 percent of the maternal weight-adjusted dose. While there are no published reports of adverse effects in breast-feeding infants of mothers taking colchicine, colchicine can affect gastrointestinal cell renewal and permeability. Caution should be exercised and breastfeeding infants should be observed for adverse effects when colchicine capsules is administered to a nursing woman.

Pediatric Use

Gout is rare in pediatric patients; the safety and effectiveness of colchicine capsules in pediatric patients has not been evaluated in controlled studies.

Geriatric Use

Because of the increased incidence of decreased renal function in the elderly population, and the higher incidence of other co-morbid conditions in the elderly population requiring the use of other medications, reducing the dosage of colchicine when elderly patients are treated with colchicine should be carefully considered.

Renal Impairment

No dedicated pharmacokinetic study has been conducted using colchicine capsules in patients with varying degrees of renal impairment. Colchicine is known to be excreted in urine in humans and the presence of severe renal impairment has been associated with colchicine toxicity. Urinary clearance of colchicine and its metabolites may be decreased in patients with impaired renal function. Dose reduction or alternatives should be considered for the prophylaxis of gout flares in patients with severe renal impairment. Colchicine is not effectively removed by hemodialysis. Patients who are undergoing hemodialysis should be monitored carefully for colchicine toxicity.

Hepatic Impairment

No dedicated pharmacokinetic study using colchicine capsules has been conducted in patients with varying degrees of hepatic impairment. Colchicine is known to be metabolized in humans and the presence of severe hepatic impairment has been associated with colchicine toxicity. Hepatic clearance of colchicine may be significantly reduced and plasma half-life prolonged in patients with chronic hepatic impairment.

Dose reduction or alternatives should be considered for the prophylaxis of gout flares in patients with severe hepatic impairment.

This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.

Last reviewed on RxList: 3/14/2017


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