Reassessing the safety of intravenous and compounded injectable colchicine in acute gout treatment

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11 Scopus citations


Colchicine has been used for over 2000 years. intravenous (IV) colchicine has been used for the treatment of acute gout since the 1950s. IV and oral colchicine were 'grandfathered' before the 1969 FDA Phase III trials for drug toxicity became law. Data on toxic reactions are, therefore, based only on passive surveillance. The risk of toxicity with IV use depends on the total dose over a period of time, the presence of comorbid conditions and the size of individual dose. Colchicine toxicity has been compared to arsenic poisoning. Symptoms start 2 - 5 h after the toxic dose has been ingested and not uncommonly lead to death. Injections of compounded colchicine have been implicated in the deaths of several patients, several of which received off-label IV colchicine for back pain. Given that colchicine has the smallest benefit to toxicity ratio of the drugs that are used in the management of acute gout and the fact that acute gout is not life-threatening, one could make a strong case for eliminating the use of IV colchicine the treatment of acute gout.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)625-629
Number of pages5
JournalExpert Opinion on Drug Safety
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2007

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pharmacology (medical)


  • Colchicine
  • Compounded injectable
  • Gout
  • Toxicity


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