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Treating patients hospitalized for heart failure with gout medication Colcrys

There is some new evidence coming out of studies of hospitalization data in the U.S. that could be bringing dramatic benefits for patients hospitalized with chronic heart failure (CHF). In a study paper published in April 2022 titled ”Association of colchicine use for acute gout with clinical outcomes in acute decompensated heart failure”, the researchers analyzed over ten years (2011 – 2020) of detailed information about patients who had stayed in hospitals for treatment of heart failure.

The co-morbidity of CHF and gout is very high, and in the pool of patients whose records were studied, more than twenty percent were also receiving treatment with the drug Colcrys (generic name: colchicine). Gout frequently flares up during treatment for decompensated heart failure.

Colcrys considerably increased the survival rates of patients with worsening heart failure who were hospitalized, according to a study conducted by the University of Virginia (UVA). As well, for those In individuals with an accumulation of cholesterol in their arteries (a common condition in people with heart failure), the researchers think colchicine might also lower the risk for heart attack and stroke.

Patients who were being treated for a gout flare-up with Colcrys had a dramatically reduced in-hospital mortality rate (2.1%), as opposed to patients who were not receiving colchicine (6.5%.)

“These results highlight the importance of novel inflammatory mechanisms in heart failure,” said Dr. Kenneth Bilchick, Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine at UVA. “The signal for benefit with colchicine in these patients was very impressive, and I expect that these findings will have quite a significant impact on clinical care in heart failure and future research for patients with this condition.”

“Heart failure is more than just a failure of the pumping function of the heart. There are other processes that are involved, especially during an acute hospitalization phase such as elevated inflammation and neurohormonal process. Many of the therapeutic agents for heart failure target neurohormonal pathways, but few if any target inflammatory pathways,” said Dr. Sula Mazimba, a UVA School of Medicine researcher and cardiologist. “Colchicine is a medication that has anti-inflammatory properties that could potentially attenuate the heightened inflammation that we see in patients who are hospitalized with heart failure.”

More about heart failure

According to the American Heart Association, around 6 million Americans suffer heart failure, and the condition is responsible for more than 86,000 deaths each year.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, heart disease is the leading cause of death for men, women, and people of most racial and ethnic groups in the United States. One person dies every 36 seconds in the United States from cardiovascular disease.

About 659,000 people in the United States die from general heart disease each year, not just heart failure. That’s 1 in every 4 deaths.

From 2016 to 2017, heart disease cost the country about $363 billion each year. This includes the cost of healthcare services, medicines, and lost productivity due to death.

More about gout

Gout is a kind of arthritis characterized by the chronic increase of uric acid in the blood (chronic hyperuricemia) and is accompanied by urate deposition (including the formation of crystals and/or gouty arthritis). Gout is common in patients with heart failure. 

We market several different medications for gout in addition to Colcrys:

Common alternate treatments for gout include steroids and NSAIDs such as aspirin and ibuprofen. However, steroids and NSAIDs are avoided for heart failure patients due to their side effects that can aggravate heart failure symptoms.

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