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The exact dose of colchicine that produces significant toxicity is unknown. Fatalities have occurred after ingestion of a dose as low as 7 mg over a 4-day period, while other patients have 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 toxicities, such as gastrointestinal symptoms, whereas those who took 0.5 to 0.8 mg/kg had more severe reactions, such as myelosuppression. There was 100% mortality in those 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 consequences. Death is usually a result of 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 poisoning 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 dialysis [see Pharmacokinetics].
Patients with renal or hepatic impairment should not be given COLCRYS in conjunction with P-gp or strong CYP3A4 inhibitors (this includes all protease inhibitors, except fosamprenavir). In these patients, life-threatening and fatal colchicine toxicity has been reported with colchicine taken in therapeutic doses.
Last reviewed on RxList: 8/5/2011
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.
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