Also Known As: Colchicine, Colbenemid, Colcrys
Colchicine is a medication used for gout. It is a toxic natural product and secondary metabolite, originally extracted from plants of the genus Colchicum (autumn crocus, Colchicum autumnale, also known as "meadow saffron"). It was used originally to treat rheumatic complaints, especially gout, and still finds use for these purposes today despite dosing issues concerning its toxicity. It was also prescribed for its cathartic and emetic effects. Colchicine's present medicinal use is in the treatment of gout, familial Mediterranean fever, pericarditis and BehÃ§et's disease. It is also being investigated for its use as an anticancer drug.
Oral colchicine has been used for many years as an unapproved drug with no prescribing information, dosage recommendations, or drug interaction warnings approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). On July 30, 2009 the FDA approved colchicine as a monotherapy for the treatment of three different indications: familial Mediterranean fever, acute gout flares, and for the prophylaxis of gout flares, and gave URL Pharma a three-year marketing exclusivity agreement in exchange for URL Pharma doing 17 new studies and investing $100 million into the product, of which $45 million went to the FDA for the application fee. URL Pharma raised the price from $0.09 per tablet to $4.85, and the FDA removed the older unapproved colchicine from the market in October 2010 both in oral and IV form, but gave pharmacies the opportunity to buy up the older unapproved colchicine. Colchicine in combination with probenecid has been FDA approved prior to 1982.