(HealthDay News) — Colchicine is effective and reduces the risk of pericarditis recurrence/post-pericardiotomy syndrome, according to a meta-analysis published online Aug. 31 in Cardiovascular Therapeutics.

Nikos Papageorgiou, M.D., Ph.D., from St. Bartholomew’s Hospital in London, and colleagues conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of the effects of colchicine on the prevention and treatment of cardiac diseases. Data were included from 17 prospective controlled randomized trials with 2,082 patients who received colchicine and 1,982 controls. Patients were followed for an average of 12 months.

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The researchers found that colchicine treatment correlated with a reduced risk of pericarditis recurrence/post-pericardiotomy syndrome (odds ratio, 0.37) and lower recurrence of atrial fibrillation rates after cardiac surgery and ablation procedures. Patients treated with colchicine more frequently had gastrointestinal side effects (odds ratio, 2.6) in all subgroups except those treated for prevention of recurrent pericarditis. In patients treated with colchicine, the higher rate of side effects resulted in higher incidence of treatment discontinuation.

“Colchicine appears to be efficacious and well tolerated for recurrent pericarditis/post-pericardiotomy syndrome and recurrence of post procedural atrial fibrillation,” the authors write. “However, its efficacy may be limited by its gastrointestinal adverse events and treatment discontinuation rates particularly in postoperative patients.”

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