Precautions and Warnings With Colchicine

Colchicine may lower the levels of certain blood cells, possibly leading to anemia, low blood platelets, or other serious problems. If you have problems with your liver or kidneys, your healthcare provider may advise against taking colchicine. Precautions and warnings also extend to people with certain allergies, as well as women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.

What Should I Tell My Healthcare Provider Before Taking Colchicine?

You should talk to your healthcare provider prior to taking colchicine if you have:
  • Liver disease, such as cirrhosis, hepatitis, or liver failure
  • Kidney disease, such as kidney failure (renal failure)
  • Any allergies, including allergies to foods, dyes, or preservatives.
Also, let your healthcare provider know if you are:
  • Pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant
  • Breastfeeding.
Make sure to tell your healthcare provider about any other medicines you are taking, including prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, and herbal supplements.

Specific Colchicine Precautions and Warnings

Some precautions and warnings to be aware of prior to taking colchicine include the following:
  • Overdoses with this medication can be fatal. Be especially careful to keep this medication out of the reach of children and pets (see Colchicine Overdose for more information).
  • Colchicine can cause low levels of various types of blood cells, which may result in serious complications. Some problems may include anemia, low blood platelets, or low white blood cells.
  • Colchicine can interact quite seriously with a number of medications, some of which may cause life-threatening problems. Therefore, it is critical that your healthcare provider is always aware of exactly which medications you are taking (see Drug Interactions With Colchicine for more information).
  • Colchicine can cause nerve and/or muscle problems, which may be serious if left untreated. Let your healthcare provider know if you experience any unusual sensations (such as burning, numbness, or tingling), especially in the hands or feet. Also, let your healthcare provider know if you develop any muscle weakness or tenderness. Elderly people seem to be at a higher risk for such problems.
  • If you have liver or kidney disease, you may need a lower-than-normal colchicine dosage.
  • Colchicine is a pregnancy Category C medication. This means that it may not be safe for use during pregnancy, although the full risks are currently unknown (see Colchicine and Pregnancy for more information).
  • Colchicine passes through breast milk in trace amounts. Therefore, if you are breastfeeding, make sure to check with your healthcare provider before taking colchicine (see Colchicine and Breastfeeding for more information).
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