Importance: Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 infection has evolved into a global pandemic. Low-dose colchicine combines anti-inflammatory action with a favorable safety profile.
Objective: To evaluate the effect of treatment with colchicine on cardiac and inflammatory biomarkers and clinical outcomes in patients hospitalized with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
Design, setting, and participants: In this prospective, open-label, randomized clinical trial (the Greek Study in the Effects of Colchicine in COVID-19 Complications Prevention), 105 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 were randomized in a 1:1 allocation from April 3 to April 27, 2020, to either standard medical treatment or colchicine with standard medical treatment. The study took place in 16 tertiary hospitals in Greece.
Intervention: Colchicine administration (1.5-mg loading dose followed by 0.5 mg after 60 min and maintenance doses of 0.5 mg twice daily) with standard medical treatment for as long as 3 weeks.
Main outcomes and measures: Primary end points were (1) maximum high-sensitivity cardiac troponin level; (2) time for C-reactive protein to reach more than 3 times the upper reference limit; and (3) time to deterioration by 2 points on a 7-grade clinical status scale, ranging from able to resume normal activities to death. Secondary end points were (1) the percentage of participants requiring mechanical ventilation, (2) all-cause mortality, and (3) number, type, severity, and seriousness of adverse events. The primary efficacy analysis was performed on an intention-to-treat basis.
Results: A total of 105 patients were evaluated (61 [58.1%] men; median [interquartile range] age, 64 [54-76] years) with 50 (47.6%) randomized to the control group and 55 (52.4%) to the colchicine group. Median (interquartile range) peak high-sensitivity cardiac troponin values were 0.0112 (0.0043-0.0093) ng/mL in the control group and 0.008 (0.004-0.0135) ng/mL in the colchicine group (P = .34). Median (interquartile range) maximum C-reactive protein levels were 4.5 (1.4-8.9) mg/dL vs 3.1 (0.8-9.8) mg/dL (P = .73), respectively. The clinical primary end point rate was 14.0% in the control group (7 of 50 patients) and 1.8% in the colchicine group (1 of 55 patients) (odds ratio, 0.11; 95% CI, 0.01-0.96; P = .02). Mean (SD) event-free survival time was 18.6 (0.83) days the in the control group vs 20.7 (0.31) in the colchicine group (log rank P = .03). Adverse events were similar in the 2 groups, except for diarrhea, which was more frequent with colchicine group than the control group (25 patients [45.5%] vs 9 patients [18.0%]; P = .003).
Conclusions and relevance: In this randomized clinical trial, participants who received colchicine had statistically significantly improved time to clinical deterioration. There were no significant differences in high-sensitivity cardiac troponin or C-reactive protein levels. These findings should be interpreted with caution.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT04326790.