Efficacy of Colchicine Treatment for Adults Hospitalized with COVID-19

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RECOVERY, a large, randomized clinical trial, assessed the efficacy of colchicine, a proposed treatment for inflammation associated with COVID-19.

Colchicine treatment has not been shown to be clinically beneficial in adults hospitalized with COVID-19, according to a randomized, controlled, multicenter, open-label study published in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine.

Inflammation is a key feature of severe COVID-19, and corticosteroids and IL-6 inhibitors have both been shown to reduce mortality in these patients. Colchicine has been proposed as a treatment for COVID-19 based on its anti-inflammatory actions.

In the current study, researchers evaluated the efficacy and safety of colchicine in patients hospitalized with COVID-19. Between November 2020 and March 2021, 11,340 (58%) of 19,423 patients enrolled into the RECOVERY trial were eligible to receive colchicine (ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT04381936). Of these patients, 5610 (49%) patients were randomly assigned to the colchicine group and 5730 (51%) to the usual care group.

Overall, 1173 (21%) patients in the colchicine group and 1190 (21%) patients in the usual care group died within 28 days (P =.77). The median time to discharge alive (10 days) was the same in both groups, and there was no significant difference in the proportion of patients discharged from the hospital alive within 28 days (3901 [70%] patients in the colchicine group and 4032 [70%] in the usual care group; P =.44). In those patients not on invasive mechanical ventilation at baseline, there was no significant difference in the proportion meeting the composite endpoint of invasive mechanical ventilation or death (1344 [25%] in the colchicine group vs 1343 [25%] patients in the usual care group; P =.47).

“In adults hospitalised with COVID-19, colchicine was not associated with reductions in 28-day mortality, duration of hospital stay, or risk of progressing to invasive mechanical ventilation or death,” concluded the researchers.


RECOVERY Collaborative Group. Colchicine in patients admitted to hospital with COVID-19 (RECOVERY): a randomised, controlled, open-label, platform trial. Lancet Respir Med. 2021;9(12):1419–1426. doi:10.1016/S2213-2600(21)00435-5