The prescription drug known as colchicine is often used to prevent gout attacks. It also is used to relieve an acute ongoing gout attack, typically colchicine can relieve a gout attack between 12 and 24 hours. Colchicine works by reducing the inflammation that is caused by uric acid crystals that deposit in the joints when gout flares up. Colchicine is a likely option for people who cannot take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
The medication is taken orally but can be injected in to the vein if necessary. Oral tablets can cause stomach problems and for those people whose stomach trouble become too serve, injections are given instead. However, injecting colchicine may damage veins and cause other side effects, such as bone marrow suppression and kidney damage and is typically use only if there is no other option.
The typical side effects of the oral version of colchicine is nausea, cramping, vomiting, and diarrhea. Side effects that are much more serious include muscle inflammation and bone marrow problems. In considering the use of this drug, NSAIDs are much less likely to cause any stomach problems at all.
People, who have kidney or liver disease, inflammatory bowel disease, or low white blood cell counts are not recommended to use colchicine.
Colchicine in low doses helps avoid gout attacks and helps relieves ongoing ones. This drug does not however lower uric acid levels in the body, but instead acts as an anti-inflammatory to relieve pain from gout outbreaks. Usually colchicine is given along with other medications such as Benemid or Anturane, or Zyloprim.