Colchicine Effective for First Episode of Acute Pericarditis

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Am Fam Physician. 2014 Feb 1;89(3):226.

Clinical Question

Does the addition of colchicine improve outcomes in the treatment of an initial episode of acute pericarditis?

Bottom Line

When used in addition to conventional anti-inflammatory therapy, colchicine decreases the rate of incessant or recurrent pericarditis. You would need to treat four patients with colchicine to prevent one such episode. (Level of Evidence = 1b)


Colchicine has been previously shown to be effective in the prevention of recurrent pericarditis (Daily POEM; December 16, 2011). In this study, patients with a first episode of acute pericarditis were randomized to receive colchicine (0.5 to 1 mg daily for three months; n = 120) or matching placebo (n = 120). All patients also received conventional

POEMs (patient-oriented evidence that matters) are provided by Essential Evidence Plus, a point-of-care clinical decision support system published by Wiley-Blackwell. For more information, please see http://www.essentialevidenceplus.com. Copyright Wiley-Blackwell. Used with permission.

For definitions of levels of evidence used in POEMs, see http://www.essentialevidenceplus.com/product/ebm_loe.cfm?show=oxford.

To subscribe to a free podcast of these and other POEMs that appear in AFP, search in iTunes for "Poem of the Week" or go to http://goo.gl/3niWXb.

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