Colchicine and the heart: pushing the envelope

J Am Coll Cardiol. 2013 Nov 12;62(20):1817-25. doi: 10.1016/j.jacc.2013.08.726. Epub 2013 Sep 11.


Colchicine, a natural and ancient drug still used today, is traditionally considered the staple therapy for gout and a second-line treatment for pericarditis, as well as a basic part of familial Mediterranean fever and Behcet's disease management. It is commonly classified as an anti-inflammatory agent, although its mechanism of action does not involve the arachidonic acid pathway affected by non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs and glucocorticoids. Colchicine inhibits microtubule polymerization by binding to tubulin, thus affecting any process that requires cytoskeletal changes, including cell mitosis and neutrophil motility. Recent studies suggest that colchicine may prove to be useful in a much wider spectrum of cardiovascular diseases than previously suspected, rekindling the interest in this old drug. In this review we briefly present the biochemical characteristics, mechanism of action and side-effects of colchicine, as well as examine what is currently known about the promising role of colchicine in cardiovascular medicine beyond pericardial disease.

Keywords: ACS; AF; C-reactive protein; CAD; CRP; IL; NSAID; PCI; POAF; acute coronary syndrome(s); atrial fibrillation; cardiac disease; colchicine; coronary artery disease; interleukin; nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug; percutaneous coronary intervention; pharmacology; post-operative atrial fibrillation.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Angioplasty
  • Animals
  • Atrial Fibrillation / drug therapy
  • Colchicine / pharmacology
  • Colchicine / therapeutic use*
  • Coronary Artery Disease / drug therapy
  • Heart Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Humans
  • Pericarditis / drug therapy
  • Tubulin Modulators / pharmacology
  • Tubulin Modulators / therapeutic use*


  • Tubulin Modulators
  • Colchicine