Colchicine — a short history of an ancient drug

Nitesh Nerlekar, Anna Beale and Richard W Harper
Med J Aust 2014; 201 (11): . || doi: 10.5694/mja14.00846
Published online: 15 December 2014

From poisons and potions to promising new therapies for cardiovascular disease

When one considers the drug colchicine, it generally draws thoughts of gout therapy, and its most notorious side effect, diarrhoea. However, colchicine is more than just a treatment for gout; it is a drug rich with centuries of medicinal history, travelling the globe from Asia to America, from its humble beginnings as a poison, to exciting novel therapies for cardiovascular disease. Here we recount a short history of colchicine.

  • Nitesh Nerlekar1
  • Anna Beale2
  • Richard W Harper1

  • 1 MonashHeart, Melbourne, VIC.
  • 2 The Alfred Hospital, Melbourne, VIC.

Competing interests:

No relevant disclosures.


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