A major clinical trial shows that an inexpensive anti-inflammatory drug used since ancient times can significantly reduce the complications and risk of death in COVID-19 patients.
The lead researcher said the study brings “important hope” to the fight against coronavirus.
Colchicine was first used as a medicine by the ancient Egyptians as far back as 1500 BC. It is derived from the crocus plant.
In the 1820s it became popular in Europe as a gout remedy. And it’s still widely used for that purpose today.
Colchicine Brings “Important Hope” to Coronavirus Fight
In the new study, researchers at the Montreal Heart Institute looked at 4,159 COVID-19 patients. They discovered that those who took colchicine were:
- 25% less likely to be hospitalized
- Half as likely to need a ventilator
- 44% less likely to die
Dr. Jean-Claude Tardif led the study. He said that colchicine appears to help prevent the runaway inflammation—the so-called “cytokine storm”—that kills so many coronavirus patients.
The results were so impressive that Dr. Tardif said that colchicine “could have a significant impact on public health and potentially prevent COVID-19 complications for millions of patients.”
He noted that that there are very few COVID treatments that actually work. The most effective ones, convalescent plasma and monoclonal antibodies, are in short supply and difficult to administer. Also, they must be started early in the course of the infection to work.
“The beauty of the study’s results is that colchicine is already available in pharmacies, since it is used safely and inexpensively for many diseases,” Dr. Tardif said.
“Our results bring important hope for patients, healthcare systems, and governments. Finally, we are providing part of a significant solution to reduce hospitalizations.”
The Canadian study confirms earlier research in Brazil. It tested colchicine in 72 hospitalized coronavirus patients. Half got the medication, and the other half took a placebo.
Fewer of the colchicine patients needed oxygen, and they were released from the hospital sooner. Two patients in the study died. They were both in the placebo group.
Because colchicine has been around for so long, it’s safety profile is well understood. The most common side effect is diarrhea. But the drug is considered generally safe.
However, colchicine can interact with antibiotics, antifungal medications, and organ anti-rejection drugs.
Because colchicine is already approved for other conditions, doctors can prescribe it to COVID patients as an “off-label” use.
If you or someone you know is suffering with COVID, show their doctor this article. The full study is available HERE.
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