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This article is the author’s final published version in PLoS ONE, Volume 17, Issue 4, April 2022, Article number e0266245.

The published version is available at Copyright © Yasmin et al.


Background: Colchicine has been used an effective anti-inflammatory drug to treat gout diseases. Owing to its pharmacodynamic of inhibiting interleukins, it has been repurposed to target the cytokine storm post-SARS-CoV-2 invasion. The goal of this meta-analysis was to evaluate the safety profile of colchicine in COVID-19 patients using the gold-standard randomised-control trials.

Methods: Electronic databases (Pubmed, Google Scholar, and Cochrane) were systematically searched until June 2021 and RCTs were extracted. Outcomes of interest included all-cause mortality, COVID-19 severity, mechanical ventilation, C-reactive protein and D-dimer levels. Using a random-effects model, dichotomous outcomes were pooled using odds ratios (OR) through the generic inverse variance formula while weighted mean differences were calculated using the Wan's method. P-values < 0.05 were considered statistically significant for all outcomes.

Results: A total population of 16,048 from five RCTs were included in the analysis. Of this, 7957 were randomized to colchicine, and 8091 received standard care, with an average age of 60.67 years. Colchicine was observed to significantly reduce COVID-19 severity (OR: 0.41, 95% CI [0.22, 0.76]; p = 0.005), and CRP levels (WMD: -19.99, 95% CI [-32.09, -7.89]; p = 0.001). However, there was no significant difference in D-dimer levels (WMD: 0.31, 95% CI [-0.61, 1.23]; p = 0.51), mechanical ventilation (OR: 0.42, 95% CI [0.17, 1.03]; p = 0.06; I2 = 74%) and all-cause mortality (OR: 0.98, 95% CI [0.83, 1.16]; p = 0.84) among patients receiving colchicine or standard care.

Conclusion: Colchicine treatment decreased CRP levels and COVID-19 severity, with dimer levels, all-cause mortality and mechanical ventilation remaining seemingly unaffected. Thus, clinical trials need to be carried out that allow effective evaluation of colchicine in COVID-19 patients.

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