Colchicine for pericarditis: Hype or hope?

Massimo Imazio*, Antonio Brucato, Rita Trinchero, David Spodick, Yehuda Adler

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Colchicine has been effectively used in the treatment of several inflammatory conditions, such as gouty attacks, serositis related to familial Mediterranean fever, Behet syndrome, and more recently also in acute and recurrent pericarditis. Growing evidence has shown that the drug may be useful to treat an acute attack and may be a way to cope with the prevention of pericarditis in acute and recurrent cases and after cardiac surgery. Nevertheless, clinicians are often sceptical about the efficacy of the drug, and concerns have risen on possible side effects and tolerability. In this review, we analyse current evidence to support the use of the drug, as well as possible harms and risks related to drug interactions, reaching the conclusion that colchicine is safe and useful in recurrent pericarditis, if specific precautions are followed, although less evidence supports its use for the treatment of acute pericarditis, where colchicine remains optional and there is a need for further multicentre confirmatory studies. This paper also reviews specific dosing and precautions for the clinical use.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)532-539
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Heart Journal
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Colchicine
  • Pericarditis
  • Prevention
  • Therapy


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