Colchici Cormus, B.P. Colchicum Corm.
Colchicum corm is obtained from the meadow saffron, Colchicum autumnale, Linn. (N.O. Liliaceae), a plant distributed over Central and Southern Europe and common in parts of England. It is also official in the U.S.P., when it should contain not less than 0.35 per cent. of colchicine. It should be collected in the early summer, and, for use in the dried state, stripped of its coats, sliced transversely, and dried at a temperature not exceeding 65°. The fresh corm is about 3 centimetres long and 25 millimetres broad, bluntly conical in shape, flattened on one side and enveloped in an outer, brown, and inner, reddish-yellow, membranous coat. The interior is white and fleshy, exuding when cut a bitter juice, milky from the presence of starch grains. The odour is disagreeable. The dried drug occurs in whitish slices, 2 or 3 millimetres thick, yellowish on their outer surface, and reniform in outline. They break with a short starchy fracture, are odourless, but have a bitter taste.
Constituents.—The chief constituent of colchicum corm is the yellow amorphous alkaloid colchicine, of which it contains from 0.5 to 0.6 per cent. Starch is also present.
Action and Uses.—Colchicum is a specific in acute gout. It relieves the pain and inflammation, cutting short the attack, but does not increase the quantity of the urine or the amount of uric acid excreted (see also Colchicina). Colchicum may cause considerable gastro-intestinal irritation with vomiting and purging. Its use for long periods is not recommended, owing to its paralytic action upon the central nervous system. The dried corm in powder may be administered in pills or the drug may be prescribed as Vinum Colchici or Extractum Colchici. Colchicum is an ingredient of many advertised gout remedies. The use of henbane or belladonna with colchicum removes the tendency to intestinal irritation, since colchicum, like jaborandi, excites the vagal nerve endings in the gut, and these same nerves are paralysed by atropine. Generally, preparations of colchicum corm are best given with a purge. In cases of poisoning by colchicum, the stomach should be emptied; atropine should then be given, this drug entirely eliminating the effect of colchicum on the alimentary canal, indeed it is as direct an antidote to colchicum in this respect as it is to pilocarpine. If cerebral depression is considerable injections of caffeine should also be made.
Dose.—1 to 3 decigrams (2 to 5 grains).
- Extractum Colchici, B.P.—EXTRACT OF COLCHICUM.
- Express the juice from fresh crushed colchicum corms, after removing their coats, and allow it to stand till clear; then decant, heat the clear liquid to 100°, strain through flannel, and evaporate to a soft extract, at a temperature not exceeding 71°. Extract of colchicum is prescribed in pills to relieve the pain and inflammation of acute gout. It is frequently combined with blue pill or compound colocynth pill, or with Dover's powder. It is a constituent of some proprietary gout and rheumatic pills. Dose.—15 to 60 milligrams (¼ to 1 grain).
- Extractum Colchici Aceticum, B.P., 1885.—ACETIC EXTRACT OF COLCHICUM.
- Colchicum corms, fresh, 95; acetic acid, 5. Express the juice from the crushed corms, after removing their coats, add the acid and allow to stand till clear; then decant, heat the clear liquid to 100°, strain through flannel, and evaporate to a soft extract at a temperature not exceeding 71°. This extract is preferred to the simple extract by some practitioners. It is used similarly to Extractum Colchici, but is rather weaker in colchicine, owing to the greater a mount of extractive matter dissolved by the acetic acid. Dose.—3 to 12 centigrams (~ to 2 grains).
- Extractum Colchici Cormi, U.S.P.—EXTRACT OF COLCHICUM CORM.
- Colchicum corm, in No. 60 powder, 100; acetic acid (36 per cent.), 35; distilled water, a sufficient quantity. Exhaust the colchicum by percolation with the acetic acid and distilled water. Evaporate the percolate to a pilular consistence and adjust the strength of the extract so that it shall contain 1.4 per cent. of colchicine. Average dose.—65 milligrams (1 grain).
- Mistura Colchici, B.P.C.—COLCHICUM MIXTURE.
- Each fluid ounce contains 15 minims of colchicum wine, 10 grains of magnesium carbonate, 15 grains of magnesium sulphate, with a sufficient quantity of peppermint water. Colchicum mixture is a saline purgative, generally used in gouty conditions. Dose.—15 to 30 mils (½ to 1 fluid ounce).
- Pilulae Colchici et Aloes, B.P.C.—COLCHICUM AND ALOES PILLS.
- Each pill contains ¼ grain each of acetic extract of colchicum, extract of Barbados aloes, and green extract of hyoscyamus. Dose.—1 to 4 pills.
- Pilulae Colchici et Hydrargyri, B.P.C.—COLCHICUM AND MERCURY PILLS.
- Each pill contains ⅙ grain of acetic extract of colchicum, ⅓ grain of mercury pill, and ½ grain of compound extract of colocynth. Dose.—1. to 3 pills.
- Pilulae Colchici et Hydrargyri Compositae, B.P.C.—COMPOUND COLCHICUM AND MERCURY PILLS. Syn.—Sir Benjamin Brodie's Gout Pills.
- Each pill contains ½ grain of acetic extract of colchicum, and 1 ⅓ grains each of mercury pill, compound extract of colocynth, and extract of rhubarb. Dose.—1 to 2 pills.
- Vinum Colchici, B.P.—COLCHICUM WINE.
- Colchicum corm, in No. 20 powder, 20; sherry, 100. Prepare by the maceration process. Colchicum wine is given, often with antacids and saline purgatives, in gout. Dose.—½ to 2 mils (10 to 30 minims).