In a new study, researchers found colchicine, a cheap anti-inflammatory drug normally used to treat gout, doesn’t lessen COVID-19 severity or stave off the risk of death from the infection in hospital patients.
What’s more, it’s associated with a high risk of side effects, particularly diarrhea.
Early =studies suggested that colchicine might be a useful addition to the treatments available for COVID-19 infection, and it has already found its way into clinical practice in some places.
In a bid to clarify its safety and effectiveness, the researchers trawled research databases looking for relevant comparative clinical trial data on the use of the drug for the treatment of COVID-19 infection, published up to July 2021.
They wanted to find out if colchicine reduced the risk of death, the need for ventilatory support, intensive care admission and length of hospital stay; and if its use was associated with any particular side effects.
The team found that there was no big reduction in the risk of death (6 studies), the need for ventilatory support (5 studies), admission to intensive care (3 studies), length of hospital stay (4 studies) or serious side effects (3 studies) between those patients treated with colchicine and those given usual supportive care only.
Patients taking colchicine also had 58% higher rates of side effects and almost double the risk of diarrhea than those given supportive care.
The team says colchicine does not reduce the risk of mortality, need for ventilatory support, intensive care unit admission or length of hospital stay among patients with COVID-19.
There is no additional benefit of adding colchicine to supportive care in the management of patients with COVID-19.
But the findings on colchicine should be interpreted cautiously and more research is needed to examine the effect of the gout drug.
For more information about COVID and your health, please see recent studies about this diabetes drug may help reduce risk of severe COVID-19 and results showing that 16 drugs could treat COVID-19.
The study is published in RMD Open. One author of the study is Parvati Patel.
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