Background: Experimental and clinical evidences suggest that colchicine can be effective in the treatment of patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.
Aim: To assess the effect of colchicine in the treatment of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.
Patients and methods: Patients with clinically diagnosed idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis were treated with colchicine in doses of 0.5 to 1 mg/day, according to tolerance and followed for periods ranging from 7 to 40 months. The clinical and radiological score reported by Watters et al was used for the longitudinal assessment of patients. Maintenance or improvement in forced vital capacity and maintenance or decrease in alveolar arterial O2 gradient during follow up, were considered as positive therapeutic responses.
Results: Seventeen patients (10 male, aged 61 to 81 years old) were studied. Their basal score for dyspnea was 5.8 (over 20), for the chest X ray examination was 2.4 (over 3) and for CT scan was 2.8 (over 3). Basal FVC was 77% of predicted value (range 51-108%), basal FEV, was 82% (range 59-117%) and FEV1/FVC was 0.82 (range 0.68-0.95). PaO2 at rest was 78 mm Hg (ranges 63-97). Alveolar-arterial PO2 gradient was 16 mm Hg (range 5-31.6) at rest and 31 mm Hg (range 5.7-51.4) after exercise. Six patients (35%) had a positive response to therapy.
Conclusions: The response rates of these patients to colchicine are at least similar to those obtained with steroids, but with less side effects.