COlchicine for the Prevention of the Post-pericardiotomy Syndrome (COPPS): a multicentre, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial

Eur Heart J. 2010 Nov;31(22):2749-54. doi: 10.1093/eurheartj/ehq319. Epub 2010 Aug 30.


Aims: No drug has been proven efficacious to prevent the post-pericardiotomy syndrome (PPS), but colchicine seems safe and effective for the treatment and prevention of pericarditis. The aim of the COlchicine for the Prevention of the Post-pericardiotomy Syndrome (COPPS) trial is to test the efficacy and safety of colchicine for the primary prevention of the PPS.

Methods and results: The COPPS study is a multicentre, double-blind, randomized trial. On the third post-operative day, 360 patients (mean age 65.7 ± 12.3 years, 66% males), 180 in each treatment arm, were randomized to receive placebo or colchicine (1.0 mg twice daily for the first day followed by a maintenance dose of 0.5 mg twice daily for 1 month in patients ≥70 kg, and halved doses for patients <70 kg or intolerant to the highest dose). The primary efficacy endpoint was the incidence of PPS at 12 months. Secondary endpoint was the combined rate of disease-related hospitalization, cardiac tamponade, constrictive pericarditis, and relapses. Baseline characteristics were well balanced between the study groups. Colchicine significantly reduced the incidence of the PPS at 12 months compared with placebo (respectively, 8.9 vs. 21.1%; P = 0.002; number needed to treat = 8). Colchicine also reduced the secondary endpoint (respectively, 0.6 vs. 5.0%; P = 0.024). The rate of side effects (mainly related to gastrointestinal intolerance) was similar in the colchicine and placebo groups (respectively, 8.9 vs. 5.0%; P = 0.212).

Conclusion: Colchicine is safe and efficacious in the prevention of the PPS and its related complications and may halve the risk of developing the syndrome following cardiac surgery. number, NCT00128427.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Cardiac Tamponade / etiology
  • Colchicine / therapeutic use*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Hospitalization / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Kaplan-Meier Estimate
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pericarditis / etiology
  • Postpericardiotomy Syndrome / prevention & control*
  • Recurrence
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Tubulin Modulators / therapeutic use*


  • Tubulin Modulators
  • Colchicine

Associated data