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    Got Gout? A User-Friendly Guide to Your New Best Friend, Colchicine

    by Skye Sherman - September 24 , 2018


    Photo Credit: by @tiffany.ironfan, instagram.com
    Photo Credit: by @tiffany.ironfan, instagram.com

    If you’ve never heard of Colchicine, consider yourself lucky. It likely means that you don’t suffer from gout, a painful type of arthritis that is characterized by pain, redness, and tenderness in the joints. Colchicine, the generic equivalent of Colcrys, is a common drug used to treat gout symptoms. However, treating gout is not the only thing that Colchicine does, so it’s important that even those who do not suffer from gout become aware of Colchicine and what it can do. It is no longer just for gout -- and you may be surprised about all the potential diseases and conditions it may be able to treat.

    This interesting medicine is also sometimes used to treat Familial Mediterranean Fever (FMF), which is a genetic disorder that causes recurrent episodes of fever that are typically accompanied by pain in the abdomen, chest, or joints. Colchicine may also be used to reduce swelling and inflammation of the sac that covers the outside of the heart, which is a condition called pericarditis. In addition, according to Rheumatology Advisor, “In patients with knee osteoarthritis (OA), treatment with colchicine reduced inflammation and high bone turnover, both of which are associated with disease progression.”

    An article in Science Trends even calls Colchicine “The Cinderella Of Anticancer Drugs.” How is that? Natural products like Colchicine target tubulin, one of the key proteins in the mitosis process. Anti-cancer drugs and therapies work by interfering with the cell division process (in other words, mitosis).

    Thus, “Colchicine was approved by the FDA in 2009 to treat familial Mediterranean fever and acute gout flares. Although colchicine is one of the most potent antimitotic drugs, it is not used in chemotherapy due to its narrow toxicity window, which explains the efforts to get colchicine-like compounds approved for cancer treatment. As a matter of fact, some derivatives of colchicine, such as thiocolchicoside (Neoflax™, Muscoril™), are being used as anti-inflammatory and analgesic drugs. Recent studies have suggested that the anti-inflammatory effect of colchicine may be due to its activity at the transcriptional level.”

    Clearly, there are various diseases and conditions that Colchicine may prove useful in treating, from gout to cancer to a genetic fever disease. However, it is most well known for its ability to help relieve the symptoms of gout, so in this article, we’ll dive into both Colchicine as an interesting medicine and gout, since these two subjects tie so closely together. No matter whether you suffer from gout or simply want to learn more about this multi-faceted prescription drug, keep reading to learn more about gout and Colchicine.

    The Basics of Gout

    What causes gout? In most cases, gout is caused by a buildup of too much uric acid in the blood. Colchicine works by helping to decrease swelling and lessening the buildup of uric acid crystals, which cause pain in the affected joints.

    According to Gout and You, “Colchicine is a prescription drug… extracted from plants of the genus Colchicum, a very poisonous plant with no know antidote and known for its toxicity. It has been around for about 2000 years as an effective gout treatment and its modern use in tablet form began in 1936. Benjamin Franklin suffered from gout and known to have brought Colchicum plants from Europe.”

    That should serve as reassurance if you are someone who is suffering from gout: you’re not alone! In fact, you’re in good company. Even world changing scientists like Benjamin Franklin have suffered this condition before you.

    But how can you prevent gout in the first place? In the next section, we’ll cover all you need to know about gout -- including how to avoid this painful condition whenever possible. There are lifestyle steps you can take to help prevent the onset of gout symptoms.

    Gout: Is it Hereditary? Is There Any Good News?

    Often, gout is a hereditary illness passed down through the generations, but in some cases gout is symptomatic of kidney problems that make a person less able to remove uric acid from their system.

    Still, even if you have gout running in your family, there are things you can do to help stave off a gout attack. “If gout runs in the family, men in particular should limit their intake of alcohol, fats, and foods that are more likely to increase uric acid level in the body -- meat, sardines, bacon, mussels, and yeast. Alcohol, especially beer, can also bring on an attack of gout. Such men should watch their weight with extra care. Drinking plenty of liquids may help minimize the risk of kidney stones. Blood and urine tests can be used to determine your potential risk of a gout attack.”

    Of course, “Medications can also help prevent gout attacks in people with multiple attacks of gout. These drugs either decrease the production of uric acid in the body or increase the excretion of uric acid in urine. These medications include allopurinol, colchicine (Colcrys, Mitigare), febuxostat (Uloric), lesinurad, and probenicid.”

    In other words, if you do face an onset of painful gout symptoms, Colchicine may be just the thing to do the trick. Gout and You claims that Colchicine is a reliable method to find relief from gout because it “works to block the inflammation caused by uric acid crystals, to relieve you of the pain, working very fast usually within 12-24 hours, slowing the inflammation.”

    If you suffer from gout, there may be a positive side. A recent study of US Veterans suggests that

    patients with gout have a lower prevalence of colorectal cancer. “Among 581 gout patients and 598 osteoarthritis patients without gout who had documented colonoscopies, the 10-year prevalence of colorectal cancer was significantly lower among gout patients than osteoarthritis patients (0.8% vs 3.7%) … Additionally, among gout patients, use of colchicine and/or allopurinol, as well as the presence or absence of concomitant osteoarthritis, did not affect colorectal cancer occurrence. The investigators concluded that the decreased occurrence of colorectal cancer among gout patients suggests a possible protective effect.”

    Thus, if you do experience the unfortunate issue of being plagued by gout, at least you know that this painful condition may be protecting you from other diseases at the same time.

    Colchicine and Familial Mediterranean Fever (FMF)

    Familial Mediterranean Fever, or FMF, most often occurs in individuals of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern descent. The first episodes typically begin in childhood.

    According to a report in the International Medical Case Reports Journal, “Untreated FMF may lead to serious complications such as end-stage renal disease and malabsorption due to amyloid deposits in the kidneys and the digestive system [but] Colchicine has been used successfully to treat FMF since the 1970s.”

    In one case, “A 30-year-old male was admitted to [a] hospital with the complaints of fever, nausea, vomiting, and generalized myalgia and weakness for 15 days. The day after hospitalization, the patient had abdominal pain. Approximately a month before, the patient was treated for a diagnosis of urinary tract infection, with similar complaints. … Colchicine was started 3×0.5 mg/day by consulting rheumatology on day 8 of admission. After the colchicine treatment, the patient’s complaints markedly improved and the inflammatory markers returned to normal levels. At his follow-up visit at 6 months, the patient remained asymptomatic.”

    This one case demonstrates just how powerful Colchicine can be. It can make the difference in a variety of medical cases and conditions, including a painful fever condition.

    Is Colchicine Dangerous? Surprising Facts About this Powerful Natural Drug

    Did you know that Colchicine was not approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration until 2009?

    The medicinal properties of the plant it derives from have been the subject of research and debate for hundreds -- maybe even thousands -- of years, and yet it took until the 21st century for this drug to be approved for common use in the United States. This is likely due to our improved understanding of colchicine’s power and potential interactions. Too much of it can prove toxic, even fatal, so dosing is important -- and it’s also essential to know what the drug does (and does not) interact well with.

    As scientific knowledge has advanced, the pharmacology of colchicine has progressed along with it. We now understand best dosing practices and have begun to see potential new uses for this ancient medicine.

    Today, scientists are exploring the use of colchicine for rheumatic and even cardiovascular purposes. Colchicine also has been studied in context as a possible treatment for Behçet’s Disease, chronic cutaneous vasculitis and Sweet’s Syndrome, Stable Coronary Artery Disease (CAD), myocardial infarctions, atrial fibrillation, initial and recurrent pericarditis, crystal arthropathies, and more.

    What You Need to Know Before Taking Colchicine: Side Effects, Drug Interactions, and Precautions

    All of that to say: before beginning any type of treatment or drug therapy, it’s essential that you do your research and become aware of any potential drug interactions or side effects that you may face as you introduce the drug to your system. You never know what apparently harmless things you’re taking that could interact with your new medication in a harmful way.

    In addition, you’ll want to be well versed on the possible side effects of Colchicine before you begin a round of it. This may not affect your decision to move forward with taking Colchicine, but at least you’ll know what you can expect as you take it. It’s important to be aware of what common side effects you may encounter and what unusual red flags may appear that you should treat more seriously.

    Some of the most common side effects of Colchicine include abdominal pain, diarrhea, hair loss, nausea, nerve irritation, vomiting, and weakness. These effects are certainly unpleasant if they do present themselves, but for most people, they are preferable to the alternative, which is letting your condition go untreated.

    More serious side effects you may encounter from taking Colchicine include a fast heartbeat, muscle weakness or pain, numbness or tingling in your fingers or toes, shortness of breath, severe diarrhea or vomiting, and unusual bleeding or bruising. If any of these symptoms arise as you take Colchicine, you should contact a medical professional right away.

    Of course, you should not take Colchicine if you are allergic to it or if you have any related allergies. Before you start taking this medication, it’s important to talk to your doctor about your existing medical conditions and any medications you are currently taking, including over the counter and herbal medications.

    Other elements to note: Limit your alcohol intake, because alcohol can decrease this drug’s effectiveness. Do not store Colchicine in the bathroom, as it needs to be stored at room temperature away from light and moisture, and out of reach of children and pets. This medication may decrease your sperm production. This medication should not be taken during pregnancy or nursing unless it is medically necessary, as this medication passes into breast milk. Talk to your doctor before breastfeeding and taking this medication.

    As far as the possibility of drug interactions, there may be an interaction between Colchicine and other medications such as Clarithromycin, Itraconazole, Ketoconazole, Diltiazem, Erythromycin, Cyclosporine, Ranolazine, and grapefruit -- yes, grapefruit, even if grapefruit is not consumed at the same time as your colchicine dose. This is why it’s important to be aware and be careful.

    Where to Buy Colchicine

    We are currently stocking Colcrys from Canada (by Odan), the UK, and Turkey. We carry generic Colchicine from Turkey (also called Kolsin) manufactured by I. E. Ulagay, and we also may sometimes carry generic Colchicine from India called Zycolchin by Zydus.

    Our Colchicine is available in tablets of varying strengths, including 0.5 mg and 0.6 mg. You can buy between 100 and 200 tables at a time.

    You can purchase Colchicine through our site for one of the lowest prices (starting $0.41 per pill) you’ll find on the market. CanadianPharmacyWorld.com provides brand name and generic over the counter and prescription medications online through Canada and other international pharmacies. If you have further questions, please refer to our FAQ.

    Don’t hesitate to reach out to us and get in touch if you have any questions. We are here to help!

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