Colchicine treatment was used in this randomized placebo-controlled trial in patients with severe acute alcoholic hepatitis [serum bilirubin ≥ 5 mg/dL (85.5 μmol/L) mean, 17.5 ± 7.5 mg/dL (299.25 ± 128.25 μmol/L)]. Hospitalization mortality and morbidity and the effect on biochemical test results were the end points of the treatment. Patients in the two groups were evenly matched by demographics and laboratory test results. Mean time to study entry was < 7 days from admission. The duration of the trial was 30 days. Thirty-six patients (24 men, 12 women) received colchicine (1 mg orally every morning) and 36 (25 men, 11 women) received an identical placebo. Seven (19%) colchicine-treated and six (17%) control patients died during the index hospitalization after a mean of 17.4 ± 10.8 and 17.8 ± 5.3 days, respectively (NS). During a 4-month follow-up period from entry into the trial, there were two additional deaths in each group. No differences between placebo- and colchicine-treated patients were observed in any of the laboratory parameters (serum bilirubin, aspartate transaminase, alanine transaminase, prothrombin activity, albumin, white blood cell count, hemoglobin, and creatinine) that were followed up over the 30-day treatment period. The frequency of complications did not differ statistically between the two groups. This study showed no effect of colchicine treatment on mortality and morbidity of severe alcoholic hepatitis. Colchicine cannot be recommended for the treatment of patients with alcoholic hepatitis.
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