Colchicine treatment for gout

What you need to know

Colchicine is probably the most popular and most common medication for gout. However, it is a prescription medication which means you could not possibly (legally) acquire some without the consent of a doctor—and with good reason.

Colchicine is toxic by nature. If ingested in high doses, it can cause symptoms similar to that of arsenic poisoning. The effective (and safe) dosage of colchicine for gout falls only between 1 to 1.2 milligrams. This is normally taken orally (pills), but can also be administered intravenously—but with serious precaution.

Now, all warnings aside, let’s talk about its effectiveness as a preferred gout medication. Colchicine—in tablet form— has long been used (since the 1930s) as a non-Food and Drug Administration-approved drug to treat rheumatic complaints. In actuality, its medicinal value has been recorded since the first century A.D. It is an alkaloid derived from the dried seeds of the meadow saffron, or the Colchicum autumnale genus.

Colchicine does not lower the level of uric acid in the body. It, however, blocks the inflammation caused by said uric acid (crystals), which in time can also reduce the chances of future attacks. Examples of medications that lower uric acid levels are probenecid and sulfinpyrazone. Colchicine can be administered at the same time with these drugs.

Colchicine can relieve gout attack symptoms in as little as 12 hours after medication. It can also stop an attack from developing full-blown when taken at the first sign of discomfort. When used as a sort of maintenance drug, colchicine should only be taken is dosages of 0.5 to 0.6 milligrams per day, for up to four days a week.

Of course, as with all medications, colchicine is not one without side effects. These can include gastrointestinal upset and anemia among others. However, these are regarded as minor in comparison to the benefits of the medicine. Caution should always be observed as well as ample patient history checks—which is why colchicine is a prescription medication. For pregnant and nursing women, no well-controlled studies have yet been taken.

Always remember, when it comes to colchicine for gout, always consult with a qualified physician first.

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