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Gout drug colchicine won't help fight COVID-19, study says

By HealthDay News
Gout drug colchicine won't help fight COVID-19, study says
Researchers say the drug colchicine, used for gout treatment, is not effective against COVID-19. File Photo by Tasique/Shutterstock

Add an inexpensive gout drug to the growing list of medications touted as potential COVID-19 treatments -- only to offer no apparent benefit.

The anti-inflammatory drug colchicine doesn't lessen COVID-19 severity, the risk of death or shorten hospital stays, a new study reports. Nor does it lower the need for admission to the intensive care unit or a ventilator.

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"There is no additional benefit of adding colchicine to supportive care in the management of patients with COVID-19," said the study team, which was led by Dr. Kedar Gautambhai Mehta, an assistant professor of community medicine at GMERS Medical College Gotri in Vadodara, India.

The anti-inflammatory drug is also associated with a high risk of side effects, particularly diarrhea, researchers added.

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They examined 69 studies published through July 2021 on the use of colchicine to treat COVID-19 infection.

The studies included six randomized, controlled trials that included 16,148 patients who had COVID with varying degrees of severity.

Patients taking colchicine had 58% higher rates of side effects and almost double the risk of diarrhea compared to those given usual supportive care.

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"Our findings on colchicine should be interpreted cautiously due to the inclusion of open-labeled, randomized clinical trials," the authors said in a news release.

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"The analysis of efficacy and safety outcomes are based on a small number of [randomized controlled trials] in control interventions," the researchers said.

The findings were recently published in the open access journal RMD Open.

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More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on COVID-19.

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