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Can an old gout medicine help treat coronavirus? Research suggests that colchicine can fight inflammation

Can an old gout medicine help treat coronavirus? Study suggests that colchicine may fight inflammation and improve survival for COVID-19 patients with nearly 10-FOLD

  • Researchers gave half a group of coronavirus patients colchicine, a drug often used to treat gout, and the other half a placebo
  • Patients who received colchicine had lower protein levels, which is a sign of heart injury and inflammation
  • About 14% of those in the control group died for an average of 18.6 days, while 1.8% in the drug group died for an average of 20.7 days
  • Scientists theorize that the anti-inflammatory effects of colchicine can prevent cytokine storms, which occur when the body attacks its own tissues

A commonly used anti-inflammatory drug may prevent serious complications from the new coronavirus and improve survival rates in patients, a new study suggests.

Researchers found that those who received colchicine had lower levels of proteins in the blood that are a sign of heart injury and of a protein made by the liver as a marker of inflammation.

In addition, patients who received the medication increased the chance of survival by almost a factor of 10.

The University of Athens team in Greece says that colchicine can help the most severely ill patients eventually be released from the hospital.

Researchers gave half a group of coronavirus patients colchicine (pictured), a drug commonly used to treat gout, and the other half a placebo

Researchers gave half a group of coronavirus patients colchicine (pictured), a drug commonly used to treat gout, and the other half a placebo

Patients who received colchicine had lower protein levels, which is a sign of heart injury and inflammation. Pictured: Medical workers can be seen at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago, Illinois, May 2020

Patients who received colchicine had lower protein levels, which is a sign of heart injury and inflammation. Pictured: Medical workers can be seen at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago, Illinois, May 2020

Patients who received colchicine had lower protein levels, which is a sign of heart injury and inflammation. Pictured: Medical workers can be seen at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago, Illinois, May 2020

About 14% of those in the control group died for an average of 18.6 days, while the 1.8% in the drug group died for an average of 20.7 days (higher)

About 14% of those in the control group died for an average of 18.6 days, while the 1.8% in the drug group died for an average of 20.7 days (higher)

About 14% of those in the control group died for an average of 18.6 days, while the 1.8% in the drug group died for an average of 20.7 days (higher)

Colchicine is usually used to treat gout, which is a complex form of arthritis that causes pain, swelling, redness, and tenderness in the joints, usually in the big toe.

Scientists theorize that the anti-inflammatory effects of the drug can prevent cytokine storms, which occur when the body not only fights the virus, but also attacks its own cells and tissues.

For the study, published in JAMA Network Open, the team looked at 105 coronavirus patients in 16 tertiary hospitals in Greece.

Between April 3 and April 27, half of the group received two doses of colchicine per day and the other half received a placebo.

Researchers compared levels of cardiac troponin and C-reactive proteins in the two groups.

Cardiac troponins are a group of proteins found in skeletal and cardiac muscle fibers that help detect heart damage.

The levels were 0.0112 nanograms per milliliter (ng / ml) in the control group and 0.008 in the colchicine group.

Meanwhile, C-reactive proteins are made by the liver and blood levels rise when there is a condition that causes inflammation somewhere in the body.

Normal levels are usually below 3.0 milligrams per deciliter (mg / dL).

The median maximum C-reactive protein levels were 4.5 mg / dL in the control group and 3.1 mg / dL in the colchicine group.

Patients also died more often in the control group: 14 percent died without colchicine, compared to 1.8 percent.

And of those who died, people in the control group lived an average of 18.6 days and those in the colchicine group lived an average of 20.7 days.

“In this randomized clinical trial, participants who received colchicine had a statistically significant improved time to clinical decline compared to a control group who did not receive colchicine,” the authors wrote.

“The hypothesis-generating findings from this study suggest a role for colchicine in treating patients with Coronavirus disease 2019.”

In the US, there are over 2.3 million confirmed cases of the virus and over 121,000 deaths.

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