Centuries-old anti-inflammatory also helps against cardiovascular disease

An age-old medicine against gout reduces the risk of new cardiovascular diseases in heart patients by 30 percent. Today, cardiologists from the Netherlands and Australia are publishing about this discovery in the New England Journal of Medicine.

In the study, half of 5522 heart patients were given a low dose of the medicine colchicine, the other half a placebo. Patients who were given colchicine had fewer heart attacks and also needed less doctor’s surgery. The drug did not cause any additional side effects.

Gout medicine

Colchicine is made from the plant autumn tideless, a crocus-like plant found in almost all of Europe. For centuries it has been used as an anti-inflammatory, among other things in the treatment of gout. The idea to also use the drug against cardiovascular diseases arose when doctors saw that rheumatism patients who received the drug were less likely to have cardiovascular diseases, says the Heart Foundation.

Last year cardiologists already discovered that colchicine prevents heart damage immediately after a heart attack. But now it also appears to help chronic heart patients. The researchers expect that the medicine can be used quickly in patients who have had a heart attack or have narrowed coronavirus arteries. What helps is that colchicine is a cheap medicine that is widely available.