Colchicine (Colcrys, Mitigare)


Colchicine is a very effective anti-inflammatory medication. It is used to treat certain disorders in which inflammation plays a key role. In children, colchicine is most commonly used to treat Familial Mediterranean Fever (FMF), Behçet’s disease and recurrent aphthous stomatitis. In the treatment of FMF, it reduces the frequency of fever and arthritis attacks, and prevents complications of FMF. In adults, it is commonly used to treat acute gout flare or to prevent gout flares.

How to Take It

Colchicine is a pill that is typically taken once or twice daily. It comes in a 0.6 mg tablet.

Side Effects

The most common side effect of colchicine is diarrhea. This typically happens when taken at a higher dose, so a simple dose adjustment is often enough to stop this side effect from happening. Other gastrointestinal symptoms, such as nausea and vomiting can also occur. Doses may have to be reduced if these symptoms occur. Very rarely colchicine can cause muscle problems, so let your provider know if you develop muscle pain or weakness on this medication. Colchicine is considered safe when taken at the correct dose.

Tell Your Rheumatology Provider

Tell your rheumatology provider if you are experiencing diarrhea, nausea, vomiting or abdominal pain while on this medication. This may be a sign that your colchicine dose is too high. Some medications may interfere with colchicine and increase the risk of serious side effects. Some of these medications include clarithromycin, fluoxetine, paroxetine, cimetidine and some antifungal therapies. Grapefruit juice may also interfere with this medication, so avoid grapefruit juice when taking colchicine. Tell your rheumatology provider if you have kidney or liver issues prior to starting this medication as doses may need to be adjusted. Please discuss with your rheumatology provider if you are pregnant, breastfeeding or planning to become pregnant.

Updated March 2024 by Karmela Kim Chan, MD, and reviewed by the American College of Rheumatology Committee on Communications and Marketing.

This information is provided for general education only. Individuals should consult a qualified health care provider for professional medical advice, diagnosis, and treatment of a medical or health condition.

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