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Diabetes Obes Metab. 2019 Mar 14. doi: 10.1111/dom.13702. [Epub ahead of print]

Effects of colchicine in adults with metabolic syndrome: A pilot randomized controlled trial.

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Section on Growth and Obesity, Division of Intramural Research (DIR), Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), National Institutes of Health (NIH), Bethesda, Maryland.
Office of the Clinical Director, NICHD, NIH, Bethesda, Maryland.
Energy Metabolism Section, Diabetes, Endocrinology, and Obesity Branch, National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive and Kidney Diseases, NIH, Bethesda, Maryland.



To evaluate the efficacy and safety of colchicine for improving metabolic and inflammatory outcomes in people with obesity and metabolic syndrome (MetS).


Adults with obesity and MetS, but who did not have diabetes, were randomized to colchicine 0.6 mg or placebo capsules twice daily for 3 months. The primary outcome was change in insulin sensitivity (SI ) as estimated by insulin-modified frequently sampled intravenous glucose tolerance tests. Secondary outcomes included changes in other metabolic variables and inflammatory markers.


Of 40 participants randomized (21 colchicine, 19 placebo), 37 completed the trial. Compared with placebo, colchicine significantly reduced C-reactive protein (P <0.005), erythrocyte sedimentation rate (P <0.01), white blood cell count (P <0.005), and absolute neutrophil count (P <0.001). Change in SI was not significantly different between colchicine and placebo arms (difference: +0.21 × 10-5 ; CI -1.70 to +2.13 × 10-5 min-1 mU-1 mL; P = 0.82). However, changes in some secondary outcomes, including homeostatic model assessment of insulin resistance (P = 0.0499), fasting insulin (P = 0.07) and glucose effectiveness (P = 0.08), suggested metabolic improvements in the colchicine versus placebo group. Adverse events were generally mild and similar in both groups.


This pilot study found colchicine significantly improved obesity-associated inflammatory variables and showed a good safety profile among adults with obesity and MetS who did not have diabetes. These results suggest a larger, adequately powered study should be conducted to determine whether colchicine improves insulin resistance and other measures of metabolic health in at-risk individuals.


beta-cell function; inflammation; insulin resistance; insulin sensitivity; obesity


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