Colchicine, an anti-inflammatory medication used to treat gout and combat arthritis, was effective in reducing local cardiac inflammation, said a new study led by Dr. Sanjay Patel of Sydney's Heart Research Institute (HRI).
The discovery was made during an investigation into new treatment for acute coronary syndrome, a life-threatening condition in which the coronary blood vessel is blocked, triggering a heart attack. The study was published in the Journal of the American Heart Association
Patel hypothesized that colchicine could combat the condition, most commonly caused by thickened arteries, due to its anti-inflammatory qualities. The study involved 83 patients. Two doses of the drug given to the patients showed that the release of key inflammatory cytokines, substances that drive inflammation of arteries and disease progression, was effectively suppressed.
"Patients with acute coronary syndrome will have higher levels of these cytokines that work to trigger the dangerous inflammation around the heart. We discovered that colchicine has a striking ability to suppress the release of these cytokines, effectively stopping inflammation in its tracks," said Patel.
"Exactly how colchicine inhibits the production of inflammatory cytokines is not completely understood..The next step will be to prove clinical effect through rigorous multi-center clinical trials," he added.