What is colchicine?
It is an anti-inflammatory drug used specifically to treat and prevent gout, in pericarditis or familial Mediterranean fever.
What does the study say?
“Colchicine reduced the risk of death or hospitalization in patients with Covid-19 by 21% compared to placebo,” according to the Montreal Heart Institute (ICM), which conducted a study of 4,488 patients. In patients with a proven diagnosis of Covid-19, colchicine resulted in hospitalizations with 25%, the need for mechanical ventilation with 50% and deaths with 44%. This great scientific discovery makes colchicine the first oral drug in the world that can treat patients in the pre-hospital phase, “ICM writes in a press release. With a conclusion: “Treating patients at risk of complications with colchicine as soon as the diagnosis of Covid-19 is confirmed by PCR, makes it possible to reduce the risk of developing a serious form of disease” and consequently to “reduce the number of hospitalizations”.
What are his limits?
Nathan Peiffer-Smadja, an infectious specialist at Bichat Hospital, points out the limits of the study: “This is a randomized study without medical contact. The information is transmitted by a press release that does not give any numbers, only percentages. And if we read between the lines, it seems that they have not reached significance at their primary endpoint, so they fall back at their secondary endpoint. “In addition,” they indicate a reduction in the risk of mortality or hospitalization in a population where this risk is very low, “adds the doctor, who calls for the utmost caution with regard to these results, pending further additional data.
A view shared by the French Society of Pharmacology and Therapeutics: “In the current state of knowledge, the efficacy of colchicine in the prevention or treatment of Covid-19 infections has not been demonstrated. Its use can therefore not be recommended in view of the current data for the treatment of Covid-19 ”.
What side effects?
Colchicine is a molecule for which the therapeutic margin is very narrow. Between the effective dose and the toxic dose there is almost nothing. It is a very dangerous molecule for this reason “, insists Nathan Peiffer-Smadja. The specialist for infectious diseases also reminds that “colchicine poisoning can not be cured”. So many reasons that require caution.