Colchicine treats gout, a type of arthritis that affects 9.2 million of people worldwide. It is also used to treat other medical conditions, such as Familial Mediterranean Fever and Behcet’s Disease.
For healthy adults, this drug is typically taken with a maximum dose of 2.5mg in the first 24 hours. Despite its effectiveness, Colchicine can cause several side effects that patients should be aware of before taking the medication. Let’s find out more about the side effects associated with Colchicine.
Side Effects of Colchicine
1. Gastrointestinal Upset
One of the most common side effects of Colchicine is gastrointestinal upset. Patients may experience symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. These side effects can occur even at low doses (1.2mg starting dosage) and may be more severe at higher doses (2.4 mg for gout).
2. Muscle Weakness
Another potential side effect of Colchicine is muscle weakness. This can manifest as general fatigue or weakness, as well as muscle pain or tenderness. In rare cases, muscle weakness can progress to severe muscle damage, which may require hospitalization. To reduce the risk of muscle weakness, it is recommended to avoid using Colchicine with other medications that can affect muscle function, such as statins or fibrates.
3. Change in Blood Cell Count
In some cases, Colchicine can also cause changes in blood cell counts. This may include a decrease in white blood cells. The normal range for white blood cells is typically between 4,500 to 11,000 cells per microliter (mcL) of blood. A decrease in the number of white blood cells can lead and increase the risk of infections, as well as a decrease in platelets. Patients taking Colchicine should have their blood counts monitored regularly to detect any changes.
4. Nerve Damage
Another potential side effect of Colchicine is nerve damage. This can manifest as tingling, numbness, or weakness in the arms or legs. In rare cases, nerve damage can progress to permanent disability. If you are taking Colchicine, you should be aware of any changes in sensation or strength and should report them to their healthcare provider immediately.
5. Allergic Reaction
Colchicine can also cause an allergic reaction in some patients. Symptoms of an allergic reaction may include rash, hives, itching, difficulty breathing, or swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat.
6. Nausea and Vomiting
While nausea and vomiting were mentioned earlier, it is worth noting that these symptoms can be severe and may require medical attention. Patients who experience persistent nausea and vomiting or who are unable to keep fluids down should seek medical attention to prevent dehydration and other complications.
7. Peripheral Neuropathy
Colchicine can cause peripheral neuropathy, which is damage to the nerves that carry messages to and from the brain and spinal cord. Symptoms of peripheral neuropathy may include tingling, numbness, and weakness in the hands and feet.
Patients should talk to their healthcare provider about any concerns they have regarding Colchicine and should report any side effects they experience. With proper monitoring and management, the benefits of Colchicine can outweigh the risks for many patients.