Efficacy and safety of colchicine in patients with coronary artery disease: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials

Br J Clin Pharmacol. 2021 Aug 18. doi: 10.1111/bcp.15041. Online ahead of print.


Aims: Inflammation plays a central role in the pathogenesis and clinical manifestations of atherosclerosis. Randomized controlled trials have investigated the potential benefit of colchicine in reducing cardiovascular (CV) events in patients with coronary artery disease (CAD) but produced conflicting results. The aim of this meta-analysis was to evaluate the efficacy and safety of colchicine in patients with CAD.

Methods: We systematically searched selected electronic databases from inception until 10 December 2020. Primary clinical endpoints were: major adverse cardiac events; all-cause mortality; CV mortality; recurrent myocardial infarction; stroke; hospitalization; and adverse medication effects. Secondary endpoints were short-term effect of colchicine on inflammatory markers.

Results: Twelve randomized controlled trials with a total of 13 073 patients with CAD (colchicine n = 6351 and placebo n = 6722) were included in the meta-analysis. At mean follow-up of 22.5 months, the colchicine group had lower risk of major adverse cardiac events (6.20 vs. 8.87%; P < .001), recurrent myocardial infarction (3.41 vs. 4.41%; P = .005), stroke (0.40 vs. 0.90%; P = .002) and hospitalization due to CV events (0.90 vs. 2.87%; P = .02) compared to the control group. The 2 patient groups had similar risk for all-cause mortality (2.08 vs. 1.88%; P = .82) and CV mortality (0.71 vs. 1.01%; P = .38). Colchicine significantly reduced high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (-4.25, P = .001) compared to controls but did not significantly affect interleukin (IL)-β1 and IL-18 levels.

Conclusion: Colchicine reduced CV events and inflammatory markers, high-sensitivity C-reactive protein and IL-6, in patients with coronary disease compared to controls. Its impact on cardiovascular and all-cause mortality requires further investigation.

Keywords: colchicine; coronary artery disease; myocardial infarction.

Publication types

  • Review