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Low dose Colchicine for prevention of atherosclerosis

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Colchicine is typically used in doses of 0.6mg to 1.2mg to prevent gout flare-ups. It's not entirely without side effects, but it's generally well tolerated.


More recently, Colchicine has been observed to have some value in prevention of heart disease:



Recent evidence suggests that the cellular effects of colchicine may translate into clinical benefits in patients with coronary disease. Specifically, it has been demonstrated that colchicine can rapidly and reliably reduce hs-CRP,43 have favorable effects on the morphology of coronary atherosclerotic plaque,44 reduce the risk for in-stent stenosis,45 and reduce the risk for cardiovascular events without tolerability concerns.46 (


More info in the full paper here: https://www.clinicaltherapeutics.com/article/S0149-2918(18)30596-4/pdf . The authors suggest that 0.5mg/day of Colchicine could have significant value in preventing heart disease, albeit as a second-line treatment.


To date, most Colchicine trials have used 1mg/day doses. Results have been largely positive for all-cause mortality and several other cardiac markers: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26318871/



Results: 15 RCTs (n = 3431 patients, median treatment 3 and follow-up 15 months) were included. All but 2 used colchicine 1 mg/day. In 5 trials, n = 1301) at risk for cardiovascular disease (coronary artery disease, acute coronary syndrome or stroke, post-angioplasty [2 RCTs], or congestive heart failure), colchicine reduced composite cardiovascular outcomes by ~60 % (risk ratio [RR] 0.44, 95 % confidence interval [CI] 0.28-0.69, p = 0.0004; I(2) = 0 %) and showed a trend towards lower all-cause mortality (RR 0.50, 95 % CI 0.23-1.08, p = 0.08; I(2) = 0 %). In pericarditis or post-cardiotomy, colchicine decreased recurrent pericarditis or post-pericardiotomy syndrome (RR 0.50, 95 % CI 0.41-0.60, p < 0.0001; I(2) = 0 %; 8 RCTs, n = 1635), and post-pericardiotomy or ablation induced atrial fibrillation (RR 0.65, 95 % CI 0.51-0.82, p = 0.0003; I(2) = 31 %; 4 RCTs, n = 1118). The most common adverse event was diarrhea. Treatment discontinuation overall and due to adverse events (RR 4.34, 95 % CI 1.70-11.07, p = 0.002; I(2) = 29 %; 7 RCTs, 83/790 [10.5 %] vs. 11/697 [1.6 %]) was higher in colchicine-assigned patients.

Conclusions: Current RCT data suggests that colchicine may reduce the composite rate of cardiovascular adverse outcomes in a range of patients with established cardiovascular disease. Furthermore, colchicine reduces rates of recurrent pericarditis, post-pericardiotomy syndrome, and peri-procedural atrial fibrillation following cardiac surgery. Further RCTs evaluating the potential of colchicine for secondary prevention of cardiovascular events would be of interest.



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doi: 10.3109/15563650.2010.495348.

Colchicine poisoning: the dark side of an ancient drug



Introduction: Colchicine is used mainly for the treatment and prevention of gout and for familial Mediterranean fever (FMF). It has a narrow therapeutic index, with no clear-cut distinction between nontoxic, toxic, and lethal doses, causing substantial confusion among clinicians. Although colchicine poisoning is sometimes intentional, unintentional toxicity is common and often associated with a poor outcome.

Methods: We performed a systematic review by searching OVID MEDLINE between 1966 and January 2010. The search strategy included "colchicine" and "poisoning" or "overdose" or "toxicity" or "intoxication."

Toxicokinetics: Colchicine is readily absorbed after oral administration, but undergoes extensive first-pass metabolism. It is widely distributed and binds to intracellular elements. Colchicine is primarily metabolized by the liver, undergoes significant enterohepatic re-circulation, and is also excreted by the kidneys. THERAPEUTIC AND TOXIC DOSES: The usual adult oral doses for FMF is 1.2-2.4 mg/day; in acute gout 1.2 mg/day and for gout prophylaxis 0.5-0.6 mg/day three to four times a week. High fatality rate was reported after acute ingestions exceeding 0.5 mg/kg. The lowest reported lethal doses of oral colchicine are 7-26 mg.

Drug interactions: CYP 3A4 and P-glycoprotein inhibitors, such as clarithromycin, erythromycin, ketoconazole, ciclosporin, and natural grapefruit juice can increase colchicine concentrations. Co-administration with statins may increase the risk of myopathy.

Mechanisms of toxicity: Colchicine's toxicity is an extension of its mechanism of action - binding to tubulin and disrupting the microtubular network. As a result, affected cells experience impaired protein assembly, decreased endocytosis and exocytosis, altered cell morphology, decreased cellular motility, arrest of mitosis, and interrupted cardiac myocyte conduction and contractility. The culmination of these mechanisms leads to multi-organ dysfunction and failure. REPRODUCTIVE TOXICOLOGY AND LACTATION: Colchicine was not shown to adversely affect reproductive potential in males or females. It crosses the placenta but there is no evidence of fetal toxicity. Colchicine is excreted into breast milk and considered compatible with lactation.

Clinical features: Colchicine poisoning presents in three sequential and usually overlapping phases: 1) 10-24 h after ingestion - gastrointestinal phase mimicking gastroenteritis may be absent after intravenous administration; 2) 24 h to 7 days after ingestion - multi-organ dysfunction. Death results from rapidly progressive multi-organ failure and sepsis. Delayed presentation, pre-existing renal or liver impairment are associated with poor prognosis. 3) Recovery typically occurs within a few weeks of ingestion, and is generally a complete recovery barring complications of the acute illness.

Diagnosis: History of ingestion of tablets, parenteral administration, or consumption of colchicine-containing plants suggest the diagnosis. Colchicine poisoning should be suspected in patients with access to the drug and the typical toxidrome (gastroenteritis, hypotension, lactic acidosis, and prerenal azotemia).

Management: Timely gastrointestinal decontamination should be considered with activated charcoal, and very large, recent (<60 min) ingestions may warrant gastric lavage. Supportive treatments including administration of granulocyte colony-stimulating factor are the mainstay of treatment. Although a specific experimental treatment (Fab fragment antibodies) for colchicine poisoning has been used, it is not commercially available.

Conclusion: Although colchicine poisoning is relatively uncommon, it is imperative to recognize its features as it is associated with a high mortality rate when missed.

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