Accidental overdose of insufflated colchicine.


Baldwin LR, Talbert RL, Samples R




Drug Saf


An accidental overdose of colchicine by nasal insufflation occurred when the colchicine was mistaken for methamphetamine. Colchicine insufflation is not believed to be a common practice among drug abusers; however, its physical appearance was similar enough to methamphetamine for it to be mistaken for that drug of abuse. In this case a 29-year-old White man presented to the emergency room 3 days after he 'snorted' approximately 200mg of colchicine powder. The colchicine was used as a 'root stimulator' in gardening by the patient's brother and stored in the same cabinet as the methamphetamine. Within 24 hours of exposure the patient began experiencing gastrointestinal distress and myalgia, which eventually prompted him to seek medical attention. The clinical course included hypocalcaemia (69 mg/L--day 5), hypophosphataemia (10 mg/L--day 5) and thrombocytopenia (19 X 10(3)/mm3 - day 8), all of which are consistent with colchicine toxicity. The patient improved with supportive care and electrolyte replacement, and was discharged after an 8-day hospitalisation.