Colchicine Is an Effective Treatment for Patients with Chronic Constipation (An Open-Label Trial)
- Cite this article as:
- Verne, G.N., Eaker, E.Y., Davis, R.H. et al. Dig Dis Sci (1997) 42: 1959. doi:10.1023/A:1018883731556
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Chronic constipation is a common clinicalcondition that frequently does not respond to routinetherapeutic measures. We hypothesized that colchicinewould be effective in this condition because we reported that it stimulates intestinal motility in ratsand commonly causes diarrhea in patients taking the drugfor either gouty arthritis or Familial Mediterraneanfever. We prospectively studied seven patients with chronic constipation who were refractoryto medical therapy and treated them with oral colchicine0.6 mg per os three times a day for eight weeks in anopen-label pilot study. During the study, the mean number of spontaneous bowel movementssignificantly increased (P < 0.05) from 1.7 ±0.5 noted during routine therapy of constipation withlaxatives and enemas to 6.4 ± 0.7 per week; meancolonic transit time significantly (P < 0.05) decreased from58.1 ± 2.5 to 47.1 ± 5.0 hr; and symptomsof abdominal pain, nausea, and bloating significantly (P< 0.05) improved during therapy with colchicine. Oralcolchicine (0.6 mg three times a day) therapy appears tobe an a promising treatment for chronic constipation anda placebo-controlled trial is indicated to confirm thesefindings.