Colchicine cuts odds of new heart attack, stroke in heart attack survivors

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A patient undergoes an electrocardiogram (ECG) test at Juntendo University Hospital in Tokyo in this 2007 file photo. A new study has found that heart attack survivors benefited from colchicine, a medicine long used to treat gout. (Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters)

(Thomson Reuters) — The inflammation-fighting drug colchicine, already a treatment for gout, dramatically reduces the odds of future cardiovascular problems in people who have just survived a heart attack, a large new study has concluded.

While 7.1 per cent of patients who took placebo pills died, had a second heart attack, a stroke or needed a stent or heart surgery over the next two years, the rate was reduced to 5.5 per cent among those who took a half-milligram colchicine pill every day.

The reduction in risk with colchicine was seen even though patients were receiving standard care with aspirin and cholesterol-lowering drugs.

“Not only did we reduce first events and recurrent events, the drug was well tolerated, the drug is well known, the safety profile is well known, it is inexpensive, and it’s widely available. So it’s only good news for patients,” said chief author Dr. Jean-Claude Tardif, director of the Montreal Heart Institute. (…)

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