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New drug option for heart disease prevention

Wednesday September 2nd 2020

The common gout medication, colchicine, may help prevent major cardiovascular events in patients with chronic coronary disease, a European conference has heard.

The drug inhibits several inflammatory pathways, including those relating to atherosclerosis.

It was tested by a team led by Dr Mark Nidorf of GenesisCare, a major heart disease treatment provider in Australia.

They gave 5,552 patients with coronary artery disease either 0.5mg colchicine per day, or placebo, for 30 days. All patients were also given lipid lowering and antithrombotic therapy.

After a follow up of about 30 months, the drug was found to be safe and effective for preventing cardiovascular events - that is, cardiovascular death, myocardial infarction, ischaemic stroke, or ischaemia-driven coronary revascularisation.

Such events were seen in 6.8% of patients on colchicine and 9.6% of patients on placebo. This represents a significant improvement.

When analysed further, reductions were seen in each of the endpoints in the colchicine group.

Side-effects were experienced by 10% of patients on colchicine and were mostly gastrointestinal. For those participants taking the drug over a longer duration, it did not cause any serious side-effects.

Findings were presented on Monday (31 August) at the at the European Society of Cardiology Congress 2020, held online.

Dr Nidorf said: “Over a decade, more than one in three heart patients will have another heart attack or stroke, or die from heart disease, despite taking preventive medication. Our study shows that this could be reduced to one in four with the addition of low-dose colchicine.

“The benefits were seen soon after initiating therapy, continued to accrue over time, and were observed patients already receiving other effective prevention therapies.”

Abstract title: Low-dose colchicine in patients with stable coronary artery disease. Presented at ESC Congress 2020 on Monday 31 August 2020

Tags: Australia | Europe | Gastroenterology | Heart Health | Pharmaceuticals

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