A clinical trial of Colchicine for the Prevention of the Postpericardiotomy Syndrome (COPPS) has found that colchicine cuts post-operative atrial fibrillation (AF) episodes in the patients who have had cardiac surgery. Results of this study were presented at a clinical trial session held at the American Heart Association’s Annual Scientific session and were published in Circulation.

“Anti-inflammatory therapy appears to be an inexpensive and safe means to reduce the incidence of post-operative AF and hospitalization length,” Dr. Massimo Imazio of Maria Vittoria Hospital in Italy says.

Still, Imazio doesn’t recommend the routine use of colchicine for the prevention of post-operative AF on the basis of a single trial.

“We need further multicenter trials to confirm this,” he notes.

Dr. Robert Higgins of SUNY Upstate Medical University, Syracuse, N.Y., agrees.

“We see AF in 30 percent to 40 percent of our patients, and so any therapy that might have a beneficial effect in terms of the incidence or the management of that disease would be helpful, and I was compelled by the data that colchicine hadn’t previously been tested in the cardiac-surgery patient, so it will be necessary to learn more about the drug in this patient group,” Higgins says.

Colchicine is a popular anti-inflammatory drug used as a treatment for gout and familial Mediterranean fever. For now, doctors aren’t recommending the drug to be used as a preventative measure against post-op AF just because of this one trial. In fact, most doctors agree that more trials should be conducted first. During the COPPS study, researchers followed a group of 360 cardiac surgery patients who were randomly given either a placebo or a 1.0 mg dose of colchicine, which was given twice a day on the first day after surgery. After that first day, the continuing dose of colchicine was 0.5 mg, which was given twice daily. The main goal of the study was to see if colchicine worked in preventing postpericardiotomy syndrome (PPS), although Imazio made it very clear that using the colchicine as a means of preventing pericarditis is an off-label use in North America and Europe.

The study showed that the patients who were taking the colchicine had a significant decrease in developing post-op AF. This could be a great thing, since new AF medications like Multaq are proving to be unsafe for patients. In fact, patients taking Multaq have been developing liver failure and a worsening of their heart conditions. Some patients are even developing generalized heart disease after taking Multaq.

If you or a loved one have developed liver failure or a worsening of your AF symptoms after taking Multaq, contact Greg Jones today for a free consultation. I am experienced at fighting Multaq lawsuits and may be able to help you recover money for your injuries.