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Small Study Tests Colchicine for Moderate-to-Severe COVID-19

FRIDAY, Feb. 5, 2021 -- For patients with moderate-to-severe COVID-19, colchicine reduces the length of supplemental oxygen therapy and hospitalization, according to a study published online Feb. 4 in RMD Open.

Maria Isabel Lopes, from the University of São Paulo in Brazil, and colleagues present the results of a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial of colchicine for treatment of moderate-to-severe COVID-19. A total of 72 patients were randomly assigned to either colchicine (0.5 mg three times daily for five days then twice daily for five days) or placebo (36 patients in each group).

The researchers found that the median time of need for supplemental oxygen was 4.0 and 6.5 days for the colchicine and placebo groups, respectively. The median time of hospitalization was 7.0 and 9.0 days for the colchicine and placebo groups, respectively. At day 2, 67 and 86 percent of patients in the colchicine and placebo groups, respectively, maintained the need for supplemental oxygen, while at day 7, the values were 9 and 42 percent, respectively. There were two deaths, both in the placebo group. Diarrhea occurred more often in the colchicine group.

"Whatever the mechanism of action -- inhibiting inflammasome, reducing neutrophil migration and activation or preventing endothelial damage -- colchicine seems to be beneficial for the treatment of hospitalized patients with COVID-19," the authors write.

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