A common gout drug may prevent the progression of coronary disease, new research from Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research and GenesisCare has found.
The international study, published in New England Journal of Medicine, found heart attacks and the need for coronary stenting or bypass surgery was reduced by 30 per cent in patients taking low dose colchicine.
The research, led by Perth GenesisCare cardiologists in collaboration with the Dutch Network for Cardiovascular Research in the Netherlands, was the world’s largest study of its kind, involving 5,500 patients.
The study confirmed low dose colchicine was safe, well-tolerated over the long-term, and significantly reduced the risk of cardiovascular death, heart attack, and ischemic stroke in patients with chronic coronary disease.
Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research Perth deputy director and GenesisCare cardiologist Peter Thompson said benefits of colchicine were seen almost immediately and continued to build over time.
“It’s now understood when cholesterol gets into the arterial wall it can spontaneously form into crystals, which like gout crystals, can incite a low-grade inflammatory response that causes chronic scarring of the artery,” Dr Nidorf said.
“When this inflammatory process is more acute it can lead to the breakdown of plaques which can lead to heart attack and stroke.
“What we’ve been unable to do until now is reduce the inflammatory process that goes on inside the arterial wall.”
Coronary heart disease is the leading cause of death in Australia and represents one in five of all deaths within the country.
Former Fremantle Football Club chief executive and Hockey Australia president David Hatt enrolled in the two-year trial, hoping to avoid family history repeating.
He said he was motivated to be a part of the program because at a similar age his father had a serious heart attack.