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Colchicine

By: Dr. Dawn Ruben

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Overview

  • Colchicine belongs to a group of drugs known as anti-gout medications. Colchicine's exact mechanism of action is not fully understood, but it seems to be able to reduce the inflammatory response that occurs in gout by inhibiting cell division in cells responsible for inflammation.
  • During an inflammatory process, the liver produces various proteins. In some animals, these proteins cannot be processed and broken down and are eventually deposited throughout the body. This leads to the illness called amyloidosis. In the final stages of amyloidosis, the protein deposits often result in kidney failure.
  • Colchicine blocks the synthesis and the secretion of these amyloid proteins produced by the liver, resulting in diminished deposits.
  • To be effective, colchicine must be given early in the disease.
  • Colchicine is a prescription drug and can only be obtained from a veterinarian or by prescription from a veterinarian.
  • This drug is not approved for use in animals by the Food and Drug Administration but veterinarians may prescribe it legally as an extra-label drug.

    Brand Names and Other Names

  • This drug is registered for use in humans only.
  • Human formulations: Colchicine (Abbott) and generics
  • Veterinary formulations: None

    Uses of Colchicine

  • Colchicine is primarily used in the treatment of amyloidosis.

    Precautions or Side Effects

  • While generally safe and effective when prescribed by a veterinarian, colchicine may cause side effects in some animals.
  • Colchicine should not be used in animals with known hypersensitivity or allergy to the drug.
  • The drug should be avoided in animals with end stage kidney failure, heart disease, or gastrointestinal disease.
  • Colchicine should be used with caution in animals with early kidney disease or in elderly or severely ill animals.
  • Colchicine may interact with other medications. Consult with your veterinarian to determine if other drugs your pet is receiving might interact with colchicine. Such drugs include phenylbutazone and certain antibiotics.
  • The most common side effects associated with colchicine are nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

    How Colchicine is Supplied

  • Colchicine is available in 0.5 mg and 0.6 mg tablets.
  • Though rarely, if ever, employed by injection in veterinary medicine, colchicine is also available in injectable form in 2 ml ampules containing 0.5 mg/ml of colchicine.

    Dosing Information

  • Medication should never be administered without first consulting your veterinarian.
  • Colchicine is administered at 0.012 to 0.015 mg per pound (0.025 to 0.03 mg/kg) once daily by mouth.
  • The duration of its administration depends on the clinical response and the development of any adverse effects. Be certain to complete the prescription unless specifically directed otherwise by your veterinarian. Even if your pet appears better, the entire treatment plan should be completed to prevent relapse.




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