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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Safety

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Colchicine, Injectable (including drugs containing colchicine)

Audience: Healthcare professionals

[Posted 02/06/2008] FDA announced its intention to take enforcement action against companies marketing unapproved, injectable colchicine, a drug used to treat gout. Colchicine is a highly toxic drug that can easily be administered in excessive doses, especially when given intravenously. There is a narrow margin between an effective dose of the drug and a toxic dose that can result in serious health risks, including death. The FDA is aware of 50 reports of adverse events associated with the use of intravenous colchicine, including 23 deaths. Potentially fatal effects include low blood cell counts, cardiac events, and organ failure. This action does not affect colchicine products that are dispensed in tablet form.

Individuals and companies must stop making these products within 30 days and stop shipping the product within 180 days or face regulatory action. After these dates, all injectable colchicine drug products must have FDA approval to be manufactured or shipped interstate.

[February 06, 2008 - News Release - FDA]
[February 06, 2008 - Questions and Answers - FDA]