Colchicine (Page 6 of 10)


12.1 Mechanism of Action

The mechanism by which colchicine tablets exert their beneficial effect in patients with FMF has not been fully elucidated; however, evidence suggests that colchicine may interfere with the intracellular assembly of the inflammasome complex present in neutrophils and monocytes that mediates activation of interleukin-1β. Additionally, colchicine disrupts cytoskeletal functions through inhibition of β-tubulin polymerization into microtubules and consequently prevents the activation, degranulation and migration of neutrophils thought to mediate some gout symptoms.

12.3 Pharmacokinetics


In healthy adults, colchicine tablets are absorbed when given orally, reaching a mean Cmax of 2.5 ng/mL (range 1.1 to 4.4 ng/mL) in one to two hours (range 0.5 to 3 hours) after a single dose administered under fasting conditions.

Following oral administration of colchicine tablets given as 1.8 mg colchicine over one hour to healthy, young adults under fasting conditions, colchicine appears to be readily absorbed, reaching mean maximum plasma concentrations of 6.2 ng/mL at a median 1.81 hours (range: 1.0 to 2.5 hours). Following administration of the nonrecommended high-dose regimen (4.8 mg over six hours), mean maximal plasma concentrations were 6.8 ng/mL, at a median 4.47 hours (range: 3.1 to 7.5 hours).

After ten days on a regimen of 0.6 mg twice daily, peak concentrations are 3.1 to 3.6 ng/mL (range 1.6 to 6.0 ng/mL), occurring 1.3 to 1.4 hours postdose (range 0.5 to 3.0 hours). Mean pharmacokinetic parameter values in healthy adults are shown in Table 5.

Table 5. Mean (% CV) Pharmacokinetic Parameters in Healthy Adults Given Colchicine Tablets
Tmax mean (range)CL = Dose/AUC0-t (calculated from mean values)Vd = CL/Ke (calculated from mean values)


(Colchicine ng/mL)

Tmax *








Colchicine Tablets 0.6 mg Single Dose (N = 13)




(1.0 — 3.0)





Colchicine Tablets 0.6 mg Twice Daily x 10 Days (N = 13)




(0.5 — 3.0)







In some subjects, secondary colchicine peaks are seen, occurring between three and 36 hours postdose and ranging from 39 to 155% of the height of the initial peak. These observations are attributed to intestinal secretion and reabsorption and/or biliary recirculation.

Absolute bioavailability is reported to be approximately 45%.

Administration of colchicine tablets with food has no effect on the rate of colchicine absorption but does decrease the extent of colchicine by approximately 15%. This is without clinical significance.


The mean apparent volume of distribution in healthy young volunteers is approximately 5 to 8 L/kg.

Colchicine binding to serum protein is low, 39 ± 5%, primarily to albumin regardless of concentration.

Colchicine crosses the placenta (plasma levels in the fetus are reported to be approximately 15% of the maternal concentration). Colchicine also distributes into breast milk at concentrations similar to those found in the maternal serum [see Use in Specific Populations (8.1, 8.2)].


Colchicine is demethylated to two primary metabolites, 2-O-demethylcolchicine and 3-O-demethylcolchicine (2- and 3-DMC, respectively) and one minor metabolite, 10-O-demethylcolchicine (also known as colchicine). In vitro studies using human liver microsomes have shown that CYP3A4 is involved in the metabolism of colchicine to 2- and 3-DMC. Plasma levels of these metabolites are minimal (less than 5% of parent drug).


In healthy volunteers (n = 12), 40 to 65% of 1 mg orally administered colchicine was recovered unchanged in urine. Enterohepatic recirculation and biliary excretion are also postulated to play a role in colchicine elimination. Following multiple oral doses (0.6 mg twice daily), the mean elimination half-lives in young healthy volunteers (mean age 25 to 28 years of age) is 26.6 to 31.2 hours. Colchicine is a substrate of P-gp.

Extracorporeal Elimination

Colchicine is not removed by hemodialysis.

Special Populations

There is no difference between men and women in the pharmacokinetic disposition of colchicine.

Pediatric Patients

Pharmacokinetics of colchicine was not evaluated in pediatric patients.


A published report described the pharmacokinetics of 1 mg oral colchicine tablet in four elderly women compared to six young healthy males. The mean age of the four elderly women was 83 years (range 75 to 93), mean weight was 47 kg (38 to 61 kg) and mean creatinine clearance was 46 mL/min (range 25 to 75 mL/min). Mean peak plasma levels and AUC of colchicine were two times higher in elderly subjects compared to young healthy males.

A pharmacokinetic study using a single oral dose of one 0.6 mg colchicine tablet was conducted in young healthy subjects (n = 20) between the ages of 18 and 30 years and elderly subjects (n = 18) between the ages of 60 and 70 years. Elderly subjects in this study had a median age of 62 years and a mean (± SD) age of 62.83 ± 2.83 years. A statistically significant difference in creatinine clearance (mean ± SD) was found between the two age groups (132.56 ± 23.16 mL/min for young vs 87.02 ± 17.92 mL/min for elderly subjects, respectively). The following pharmacokinetic parameter values (mean ± SD) were observed for colchicine in the young and elderly subjects, respectively: AUC0-inf (ng/hr/mL) 22.39 ± 6.95 and 25.01 ± 6.92; Cmax (ng/mL) 2.61 ± 0.71 and 2.56 ± 0.97; Tmax (hr) 1.38 ± 0.42 and 1.25 ± 0.43; apparent elimination half-life (hr) 24.92 ± 5.34 and 30.06 ± 10.78; and clearance (mL/min) 0.0321 ± 0.0091 and 0.0292 ± 0.0071.

Clinical studies with colchicine for prophylaxis and treatment of gout flares and for treatment of FMF did not include sufficient numbers of patients aged 65 years and older to determine whether they respond differently than younger patients. In general, dose selection for an elderly patient with gout should be cautious, reflecting the greater frequency of decreased renal function, concomitant disease or other drug therapy [see Dosage and Administration (2.4), Use in Specific Populations (8.5)].

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