A randomized controlled trial to evaluate the slow-acting symptom modifying effects of a regimen containing colchicine in a subset of patients with osteoarthritis of the knee

Osteoarthritis Cartilage. 2002 Apr;10(4):247-52. doi: 10.1053/joca.2002.0516.


Objective: As crystals may contribute to inflammation in osteoarthritis (OA), it is hypothesized that colchicine may have symptom/disease modifying effects in OA. The objective of this study was to evaluate the symptomatic benefit of addition of colchicine to a regimen of intraarticular steroids and piroxicam in patients with knee OA with inflammation.

Design: 39 patients with OA of the knee with persisting inflammation, despite at least 2 weeks of piroxicam, were subjected to intraarticular steroid injection and randomly assigned to receive colchicine 0.5 mg twice daily or placebo in a randomized, double blind, placebo-controlled trial over 5 months.

Results: VAS for index knee pain (VAS-pain) and total KGMC score (a modified WOMAC index) at 16 and 20 weeks were significantly better in the colchicine group than the corresponding scores in controls. The benefit persisted on multivariate analysis at 16 weeks (Hotellings T(2)=18.6, F(5,33)=3.3154, P=0.015). The proportion of patients who had 30% or greater response at 16 weeks was significantly higher in the colchicine group in VAS-pain (69% vs 15%) and total KGMC scores (74% vs 45%) and the significance persisted on combined analysis using Mantel-Haenszel test (M-H Risk=5.9, 95% C.I.: 2.08 to 16.73). At 20 weeks, benefit of colchicine therapy was seen on pooled analysis only (M-H risk=3.71, 95% C.I.: 1.07=8.02).

Conclusion: The addition of colchicine produced significantly greater symptomatic benefit at 16 and 20 weeks than intraarticular steroid and piroxicam alone in patients with knee OA with inflammation.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / therapeutic use
  • Colchicine / therapeutic use*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Female
  • Gout Suppressants / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Injections, Intra-Articular
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Osteoarthritis, Knee / drug therapy*
  • Piroxicam / therapeutic use
  • Time Factors


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • Gout Suppressants
  • Piroxicam
  • Colchicine