Colchicine for alcoholic and non-alcoholic liver fibrosis or cirrhosis

Liver. 2001 Apr;21(2):129-36. doi: 10.1034/j.1600-0676.2001.021002129.x.


Aims/background: Colchicine is an anti-inflammatory and anti-fibrotic drug. Several randomized clinical trials have addressed the question whether colchicine has any efficacy in patients with alcoholic as well as non-alcoholic fibrosis and cirrhosis. The objectives were to assess the efficacy of colchicine evaluated in randomized trials on mortality, liver related mortality, liver related complications, liver fibrosis markers, liver histology, alcohol consumption, quality of life, and health economics in patients with alcoholic and non-alcoholic fibrosis or cirrhosis.

Methods: Interventions encompassed peroral colchicine at any dose versus placebo or no intervention. The trials could be double-blind, single-blind or unblinded. The trials could be unpublished or published as an article, an abstract, or a letter, and no language limitations were applied. All analyses were performed according to the intention-to-treat

Method: MEDLINE, The Cochrane Controlled Trials Register, The Cochrane Hepato-Biliary Group Controlled Trials Register and full text searches were combined.

Results: Combining the results of 14 randomized clinical trials including 1138 patients demonstrated no significant effects of colchicine on mortality (odds ratio (OR): 0.91; 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.64, 1.31), liver related mortality (OR: 0.98; CI 0.56, 1.74), complications (OR: 1.06; CI 0.65, 1.73), and the other outcomes. Colchicine was associated with a significantly increased risk of adverse events (OR: 4.41; CI 2.24, 8.70; p< 0.001).

Conclusions: Colchicine should not be used for liver fibrosis or liver cirrhosis irrespective of etiology. Future trials on colchicine for liver diseases ought to be large.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Meta-Analysis
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Colchicine / administration & dosage
  • Colchicine / therapeutic use*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Humans
  • Liver Cirrhosis, Alcoholic / drug therapy*
  • Liver Cirrhosis, Alcoholic / mortality
  • Liver Cirrhosis, Alcoholic / pathology
  • Odds Ratio
  • Quality of Life
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Single-Blind Method
  • Survival Rate
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Colchicine