Scientists from the University of Virginia found that the anti-inflammatory benefits of a common gout medicine may help save the lives of people with heart failure.
The medication, colchicine, could also reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke in patients whose arteries are clogged with cholesterol.
The research is published in the journal Clinical Cardiology and was conducted by Dr. Kenneth Bilchick et al.
Many patients with heart failure also have gout, a type of arthritis caused by a buildup of uric acid crystals in the joints.
Common treatments for gout include colchicine, steroids, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as aspirin and ibuprofen.
In the study, the team analyzed the records of more than 1,000 patients with worsening heart failure, which occurs when the heart can’t pump enough blood through the body.
Survival rates were nearly 98% for those who received colchicine for a gout flare, compared with less than 94% for those who weren’t given colchicine.
The team says steroids and NSAIDs are not typically given to heart failure patients for gout because they could worsen heart failure symptoms.
Colchicine may benefit heart failure patients by reducing inflammation in the heart and blood vessels.
While these initial findings need to be confirmed in large studies, they are promising. These results highlight the importance of novel inflammatory mechanisms in heart failure.
About 6 million Americans have heart failure and it causes more than 86,000 deaths a year, according to the American Heart Association.
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