Colchicine Side Effects
June 10, 2011 by Lynn.
Colchicine Side EffectsColchicine should be taken with food and a full glass of water to reduce the possibility of side effects. The most common side effects of colchicine include loss of appetite and gastrointestinal upset such as stomach pain, vomiting and diarrhea. Drinking alcohol can increase the risk of stomach problems.
Less commonly, users may experience numbness or tingling in the hands and feet (peripheral neuropathy), muscle weakness, hair loss, or purpura (purple spots or patches caused by the leaking of small blood vessels).
On occasion, long-term users of colchicine may develop bone marrow depression resulting in poor blood clotting, anemia or neutropenia (low levels of white blood cells). People with neutropenia are more susceptible to bacterial infections.
Any side effects outside of mild gastrointestinal symptoms, loss of appetite and muscle pain or weakness should be reported to your doctor. As with any drug, signs of an allergic reaction such as rashes, itching, hives, or swelling of the face, lips, throat and tongue require immediate medical attention.
Colchicine is a powerful drug, and can be toxic at high doses. Symptoms of colchicine poisoning include fever, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain and burning in the mouth and throat. Symptoms usually occur with two to five hours of an overdose, but can take as long as 24 hours to appear. Severe overdose can progress to multiple organ failure, respiratory failure, and kidney damage. There is no antidote for colchicine poisoning, although there are treatments.
Grapefruit juice may increase the risk of colchicine toxicity, as can the use of cholesterol lowering drugs like statins and fibrates. Make sure your doctor is aware of all other prescription or over the counter medications you are using, especially HIV medications, antibiotics and antifungals. Also tell your doctor if you are regularly taking herbal medicines, sodium bicarbonate, vitamin C, or vitamin B12.
Ten to twenty percent of a dose of colchicine is secreted by the kidneys, so it should not be used long-term by anyone with poor renal functioning. It should also be avoided by those with serious gastrointestinal, blood, liver and cardiac disorders.
The effects of colchicine on pregnant or breastfeeding women have not been well studied.
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