Treatment of chronic constipation with colchicine: randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover trial.Am J Gastroenterol 2003; 98(5):1112-6AJ
Refractory constipation is a common GI complaint seen by physicians in all practice settings. We have previously shown that p.d. colchicine (0.6 mg t.i.d.) increases the number of spontaneous bowel movements, hastens GI transit, and improves GI symptoms in patients with chronic constipation during an 8-wk, open-label therapeutic trial. The aim of this study was to determine if p.d. colchicine will increase spontaneous bowel movements and accelerate colonic transit in patients with idiopathic chronic constipation in a randomized, placebo-controlled, crossover trial.
A total of 16 patients (15 women, one man) with a mean age of 47 yr (age range 25-89) with chronic idiopathic constipation who were refractory to standard medical therapy participated in the study. Patients randomly received either colchicine 0.6 mg p.o. t.i.d. or an identical placebo p.o. t.i.d. for a total of 4 wk in a double-blind, crossover fashion. Patients recorded their daily number of bowel movements and daily symptoms of daily nausea, abdominal pain, and bloating. Mean colonic transit was calculated at baseline, weeks 6 and 12.
Colchicine increased the number of bowel movements and accelerated colonic transit compared with baseline and placebo conditions. There were no significant differences between conditions on ratings of nausea and bloating. During colchicine administration, mean abdominal pain was greater than the baseline or placebo conditions, however, the pain decreased significantly by the last week the patient was on colchicine.
Colchicine increases the frequency of bowel movements and hastens colonic transit in patients with chronic constipation. Colchicine may be an effective agent available to practitioners to treat a subset of patients with chronic constipation who are refractory to standard medical therapy.