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Colchicine Halves Heart Attack Risk in Those with Coronary Heart Disease

Australian researchers at Perth’s Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital followed 500 coronary patients over several years who were administered a steady low dose of colchicine. Results suggested that in these subjects who had coronary heart disease, the risk of heart attack was halved. Study investigators stated that lose dose colchicine (LoDoCo) “could become one of the big breakthroughs in heart disease research in 2012.”

Further, they described colchicine as a “widely available and a relatively inexpensive and innocuous drug that has been around for generations.” The study tested the hypothesis that as a potent anti-inflammatory, colchicine blocks the inflammation associated with coronary heart disease.

For more details about this study, visit: Common gout medicine may halve heart attack risk.

The history of colchicine is both ancient and dramatic. It is a toxic natural product and secondary metabolite originally extracted from plants of the genus Colchicum (autumn crocus or meadow saffron). The autumn crocus was described for treatment of rheumatism and swelling in 1500 B.C. in an Egyptian medical papyrus.  Benjamin Franklin, who suffered from gout, brought Colchicum plants to the United States from France. Colchicine was first isolated in 1820 by the French chemists P.S. Pelletier and J.B. Caventou. The FDA approved colchicine for the treatment of gout, familial Mediterranean fever, pericarditis, and Behcet’s disesease. Yet the FDA removed the older unapproved colchicine from the market in February, 2008 both in oral and IV form “because of toxicities associated with the use of IV colchicine and the emergence of safer alternative therapies.”

For a complete explanation by the FDA, go to: Questions and answers for patients and healthcare providers regarding single-ingredient oral colchicine products.

Do you prescribe colchicine for your patients?

Based on your experience, would colchicine help patients with pain other than gout?

For CME articles on gout, go to: Search results for “Gout” on PI.