Gout Drug Colchicine Studied to Treat Pericarditis

November 1, 2011 by Alex.

by AzRedHeadedBrat
by AzRedHeadedBrat
Pericarditis is the inflammation of the pericardium, a fibrous sac that surrounds the heart. It commonly occurs for no known reason, but can also be caused by tuberculosis, cancer, cardiac surgery, viral infections, or an autoimmune disease. Pericarditis is usually painful, and can cause life-threatening fluid accumulation around the heart.

Pericarditis can be treated with anti-inflammatory drugs (such as aspirin, ibuprofen, or a steroid), but recurrences are frequent - occurring in about 50% of patients after their first attack, and one third of patients with acute pericarditis. Some patients have been treated with another drug, colchicine, although there is little data from clinical trials on its effectiveness.

Researchers form Italy's Maria Vittoria Hospital conducted a randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled study to see whether colchicine can help resolve the symptoms and prevent further recurrences of pericarditis. The results were published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

One-hundred-and-twenty patients who had a first occurrence of pericarditis were randomly assigned to receive either generic colchicine or a placebo pill every day for six months. Both groups also received anti-inflammatory drugs. The researchers found that symptoms of pericarditis improved within one week more often for patients who received colchicine than for those who received a placebo.

Patients who received colchicine also had about half the number of additional episodes of pericarditis during the following eighteen months than those who received the placebo. Gastrointestinal symptoms (such as diarrhea, nausea, or discomfort) were the most frequent side effects, occurring in seven percent of the patients in both groups.

It is also not yet known how long treatment with colchicine should be continued. Patients whose pericarditis was caused by specific infections or cancer, pregnant or breastfeeding women, and patients who had already had more than one incidence of pericarditis were not included in the study, so it's not known whether colchicine would be beneficial or safe for those patients.

Colchicine is not approved for the treatment of pericarditis in the United States or Europe, and this use is considered off-label. But the researchers say the implications of their study are that colchicine is a safe and effective treatment for some patients who have had their first occurrence of pericarditis.

Colchicine has been used as a gout medication since the 1800s, and an estimated three million Americans rely on the gout drug to ease the intense pain of gouty arthritis. The price of colchicine soared in the US in 2010, when URL Pharma was given market exclusivity for their name brand Colcrys, and generic colchicine was ordered off the market.

Generic colchicine is still available in Canada, and American gouty arthritis sufferers can still buy colchicine at a reasonable price through an online pharmacy with a valid prescription.

Filed under: Recurrent Pericarditis, Gout Medications.

Tags: treat gout, gout drug, gouty arthritis, generic colchicine, gout medication, price of colchicine, name brand Colcrys, buy colchicine, www.colchicine.ca.

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Effective Colchicine Therapy for Recurrent Pericarditis

November 25, 2011 by Derek.

Heart Smart
Heart Smart
Inflammation of pericardium, the fibrous sac enclosing the heart, is a medical defect known as pericarditis. Patients often experience chest pain, swelling in the ankles and feet. Shortness of breath while lying down and anxiety are other symptoms. Our Canada pharmacy found more people purchase colchicine to prevent recurrent pericarditis.

Colchicine is an oral drug used to treat gout and familial Mediterranean fever (FMF) and is useful in suppressing inflammation. A recent trial now finds the prescription drug more effective than placebo in preventing recurrent and persistent symptoms of pericarditis in conjunction with conventional therapy. A double-blind multicenter randomized trial, the first of its kind, demonstrates effectiveness of the medication.

Trial Conducted To Verify Non-Randomized Observational Findings
Pericarditis has a common complication in that it is recurrent in about 20% to 50% cases of people who have experienced the medical condition earlier. Recurrent pericarditis is a disabling disease seriously affecting quality of life. Frequency at which it occurs makes re-hospitalization necessary. Efficient management is needed to keep treatment costs down. Open-label randomized studies conducted at two centers and non-randomized observational findings already revealed effectiveness of colchicine in preventing recurrent pericarditis. Experts were therefore of the opinion further tests were needed to verify results. Our Canada pharmacy followed up on the multi-center trial.

Experts from the European Society of Cardiology recommended colchicine in its 2004 guidelines for pericardial diseases, which initiated the CORP trial in four centers in Italy. The trial was conducted on 120 consecutive patients who experienced pericarditis for the first time. A primary endpoint was set up to check recurrence of pericarditis at the end of 18 months.

Several secondary endpoints were also set up. Recordings included checks to measure persistence of symptoms at the end of 72 hours, number of times the condition occurred, rate of remission at the end of the week, first recurrence, rate of constrictive pericarditis, cardiac tamponade, and hospitalization due to pericarditis.

Volunteers were given an initial dose of 1 to 2 mg on the day of starting the trial followed by 0.5 to 1 mg daily for the next six months. The lower initial and maintenance dozes were given to people below the rate of 70 kg and those who demonstrated intolerance to higher doses.

Positive Results Encourage Usage of Colchicine
Trial results clearly indicated colchicine was more effective than placebo. For example, the 18-month recurrence rate reduced by 55% in the case of colchicine compared to just 24% in the case of placebo. The mean number of recurrent episodes also reduced in favor of colchicine. At the end of 72 hours, persistent symptoms were 23% compared to 53.3% in placebo cases. Also, people found faster relief in 82% cases compared to 48% in people using placebo.

Colchicine is known to be a safe drug available at low cost at a Canada pharmacy. Further trials may be needed including people from other geographical locations and in more generalized settings; however, the prescription drug does provide rapid relief from symptoms of pericarditis. Its effectiveness over the 18-month period makes it an ideal medication to be added to empiric anti-inflammatory therapy for prevention of recurrent pericarditis.

Filed under: Colchicine Use, Recurrent Pericarditis.

Tags: colchicine, therapy, recurrent pericarditis, CORP, gout medication, buy colchicine.

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