What Not to Eat When Taking Colchicine (Colcrys)
Managing gout with Colcrys, or generic colchicine, can alleviate a lot of pain and help patients achieve increased quality of life.
However, that’s not the full picture. Pairing high-quality, effective gout medication with a considered diet and helpful lifestyle changes can help you feel as good as possible, and potentially keep your required dose of colchicine as low as possible.
The Role of Colchicine in Gout Management
Colcrys (colchicine) is an anti-inflammatory medication that can help break the cycle of swelling, pain, and other tough symptoms associated with gout. It does this by reducing the number of white blood cells that respond to a potential inflammatory event—which reduces the impact of an overactive inflammatory response.
Colchicine doesn’t cure gout, but it can help prevent future gout attacks. Because of this, patients may take it as a preventative treatment, or for acute, expected gout flares. Depending on a patient’s symptoms, they may also take it off-label for conditions like hepatic cirrhosis.
Colchicine is effective, but, like all medications, it does come with some risk for side effects. If you’re taking generic colchicine or brand-name Colcrys, look for vomiting, nausea, and diarrhea. Tell your doctor if you’re experiencing any of these symptoms.
How Much Does Colchicine Cost?
Colchicine is available in two forms: Generic colchicine, and brand-name Colcrys.
Through NorthWestPharmacy.com, you can buy 30 tablets of brand-name Colcrys for about $270, or around $9.00 per tablet.
Alternatively, if you can tolerate the generic equivalent, you can buy 60 tablets of generic colchicine for about $26.00, or just over $0.40 per tablet.
Is Colchicine the Only Way to Manage Gout?
No, colchicine isn’t the only way to manage gout—but it is an effective, popular option.
Whether you’re taking colchicine or not, knowing what lifestyle and diet changes could be conducive to managing your condition is a good idea. Diet, in particular, can make a massive difference in the way you feel when managing gout and mitigating gout attacks.
Certain types of foods increase the amount of uric acid that’s in your blood. Uric acid, and, in particular, the aggregation of uric acid, can cause gout attacks. Therefore, in theory, eating fewer foods that boost uric acid production should have a good effect on your gout attacks.
What Foods Should I Avoid Eating When Taking Colchicine (Colcrys)?
Here’s your handy list of foods to take off your shopping list if you’re interested in managing gout naturally (or supporting your use of medication strategically):
- High-purine foods. Foods high in a compound called “purine” play a big part in increasing uric acid levels. Avoiding these foods can help you keep your uric acid levels low, and your gout in check. Examples of high-purine foods include sardines, anchovies, herring, red meat, game meat, and organ meats.
- Alcohol. Alcoholic beverages are strongly associated with gout attacks.
- Sugary drinks. Sugary drinks are inflammatory and can contribute to the pain felt during an attack. And, if a beverage contains high-fructose corn syrup, you should avoid that drink in particular: High-fructose corn syrup can generate uric acid as it breaks down.
- Fatty foods. These foods don’t directly increase gout attacks, but they can make the side effects of gout medication worse (e.g., diarrhea and nausea). Examples of foods to avoid in this category include processed and fatty meats, high-fat dairy, and fried food.
What Can I Eat When Taking Colchicine (Colcrys)?
With that long list of (delicious!) foods that you should try to reduce or avoid while managing your gout, it can be easy to feel like there’s nothing left to put on your plate.
We get that. And we will provide a list of go-to foods to include as critical parts of your diet in just a moment. But, first, remember this: Eating “perfectly” isn’t possible (or at least, it’s not sustainable.) More importantly: You can eat “perfectly” and still experience challenging gout symptoms or require medication. That’s both okay and normal. Don’t stress too much about eating 100% on plan 100% of the time; that will lead to adverse mental health outcomes, which won’t help your gout.
That said, when you can make simple swaps or prioritize healthy, gout-friendly foods over ones you know are inflammatory, that can be helpful and support a better quality of life.
- Omega-3 fatty acids, which are found in nuts, seeds, salmon, and mackerel
- Vitamin C-rich foods, such as citrus fruits, strawberries, bell peppers, and some vegetables
- Whole grains, which are rich in fiber and can help reduce uric acid levels
- Fruits and vegetables, which are also rich in fiber, as well as phytochemicals that can help reduce inflammation
- Tart cherries, which are associated with reduced rates of gout attacks.
- Skim milk, which may help you keep uric acid levels in check, if it works for your digestive system
- Coffee, which could also help reduce uric acid levels and support healthy excretion of excess uric acid
- Water! If you can, always remain hydrated while working to reduce your gout symptoms.
Specific Foods and Drinks to Avoid While Taking Colchicine
Let’s go into a little more detail about a few more hard-hitting foods to consider taking a break from or reducing while managing gout attacks.
For example, while avoiding sugary drinks is generally a good idea to stay in tip-top shape and shield yourself from gout-related pain, is mixing alcohol and colchicine really that much worse?
Colchicine and Alcohol - A Risky Combination
Unfortunately, mixing colchicine and alcohol can indeed be particularly dangerous.
- Alcohol can increase your body’s levels of uric acid, which, as we noted above, directly contributes to painful gout attacks.
- What’s more, alcohol interferes with your body’s ability to get rid of uric acid, which also directly relates to gout flare-ups.
- Further, drinking alcohol excessively can exacerbate some side effects of colchicine, including gastrointestinal distress. This can make it difficult to determine whether colchicine is working for you, or if your lifestyle is making colchicine’s job more complicated than necessary.
Are There Ways to Drink Safely While Taking Colchicine (Colcrys)?
Your absolute safest bet is, whenever possible, to avoid drinking alcohol.
If you’re interested in drinking a strategic amount of alcohol as safely as possible, do so sparingly, in minimal amounts, and prioritize avoiding alcohol while you’re actively experiencing a gout flare-up.
The Grapefruit Warning - Understanding the Interaction
When you’re managing gout and taking colchicine, staying away from grapefruit is one of the hard-and-fast rules you’ll need to follow.
Grapefruit, in both fruit and juice form, interferes with the way your body processes colchicine. If you take in grapefruit and colchicine at the same time, you might end up with dangerously high levels of systemic colchicine. This can lead to an increased risk of unwanted side effects with colchicine, such as severe abdominal pain, muscle weakness, and frustrating GI symptoms.
Need alternatives to replace your morning grapefruit habit, or your favorite citrusy beverage? Consider the following:
Can Ice Cream Cause Gout? The Dairy Debate
Dairy products, ice cream included, don’t necessarily cause gout.
Higher fat, more highly processed, and highly sugary types of dairy can, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have any dairy at all. You may be able to enjoy some types of low-fat dairy that’s low in sugar or keep your occasional indulgences in high-fat ice cream for special occasions only.
If you’re interested in alternatives to add to your dessert rotation, consider exploring low-fat ice cream, frozen yogurt, or even plant-based options.
Are French Fries Bad for Gout? The Truth About Fried Foods
French fries can be relatively unhelpful for people managing gout attacks. There are a few specific reasons why. For example, the high-fat content in French fries can increase blood uric acid levels. Since they’re high-fat foods, French fries can also contribute to obesity and adverse heart conditions that are risk factors or compounding factors for gout.
Much like alcohol or ice cream (but unlike grapefruit, which you’ll need to avoid entirely), it’ll be best to reserve French fries for celebrations and infrequent occasions.
Looking for alternatives?
- Try baked or air-fried potatoes.
- Opt for portion control, so when you do enjoy French fries, you’re only taking in a minimal amount of fat.
- Pair your French fries with well-seasoned vegetables and whole grains to help you feel satisfied.
Beyond Diet - Lifestyle and Medication Considerations
Working toward a strategic diet that makes you feel good can help your gout symptoms enormously. However, eating on-plan isn’t the only thing you can do to reduce your symptoms and feel better while managing gout. If you’re interested in pursuing a more holistic approach, one that may include diet as well as lifestyle considerations and medication, you may be able to see even better results.
Complementing Colchicine Treatment with Lifestyle Choices
Your gout may cause you severe pain or joint tenderness on a daily basis.
It can help your physical and mental symptoms to adopt daily habits that will constantly alleviate your challenges. Taking colchicine or brand Colcrys regularly is one effective option; so is prioritizing fresh fruits and vegetables while avoiding grapefruit, alcohol, and processed foods.
Want to take your gout treatment plan a step further?
Consider, as far as it might be possible, pursuing these goals:
Weight management: Excess weight can worsen gout symptoms, as having a higher weight can make it easier for your body to produce uric acid – something you do not need more of – and make it harder for your body to eliminate it.
Of course, excess weight cannot magically be willed away, and for some, it may not be possible to lose a large percentage of body weight. If you’re able, taking steps to pursue healthy weight loss can help your gout, but don’t stress too much if you’re unable to make the number on the scale move at all.
Exercise: Find a version of body movement that you like, and incorporate it into your routine—especially if your daily activities (e.g., school or work) require that you stay put most of the time. This doesn’t have to mean running laps or doing anything that will stress your joints too much. Instead, consider low-impact activities like swimming, cycling, or walking.
Hydration: Drinking lots of water may not seem like an action-packed treatment plan, but being hydrated is vital for effective gout management. If you can, drink around 3 liters of fluid daily. If plain water is difficult to drink, consider tea, and eat lots of fruit.
Staying well-hydrated can help your body flush out uric acid. It also helps you reduce the risk of kidney stones, a complication you’ll want to avoid when possible.
Colchicine Alternatives to Consider
If you’re looking for medication to help you prevent gout flares, colchicine isn’t the only medication you can try.
(This can be particularly helpful if you need an alternative treatment because of interactions with other medications, or side effects that won’t go away.) One specific colchicine alternative, Indomethacin, is an anti-inflammatory medication that helps people reduce pain associated with arthritis (including gout). You can buy generic indomethacin through NorthWestPharmacy.com for about $0.25 per pill.
If you’re in need of other alternatives, talk to your doctor. They’ll be able to provide recommendations based on your unique needs.
Ease Your Gout Treatment Journey with Cost-Effective Solutions
Gout medication, including colchicine and indomethacin, can be wildly expensive in the United States. This doesn’t exactly alleviate stress for people who are managing gout! If you’re looking for affordable alternatives, you’re in the right place. Through NorthWestPharmacy.com, you can buy authentic gout medication for steep discounts.
Interested in learning more about what the friendly, experienced team at NorthWestPharmacy.com can offer you? Check out our Canadian pharmacy reviews, call to speak with one of our pharmacists, or, if you’re ready, place your order in just a few clicks. We look forward to supporting you and your health!