The nitrogen-containing compound, colchicine, has been used medicinally for millennia. It was first isolated
from the plant Colchicum autumnale, by the French chemists P.S. Pelletier and J. Caventon. Today, colchicine is
primarily used for the treatment of gout and auto-inflammatory diseases, such as familial Mediterranean fever (FMF), but
it has been also investigated for its therapeutic utility in a number of respiratory diseases such as asthma, chonic
obstructive pulmonary disease and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. While colchicine has shown some promise as an
adjuvant to corticosteroid treatment, the benefit of the drug remains to be elucidated. The lack of serious adverse effects of
oral colchicine at therapeutic levels should ease the design of more specific trials.
Asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary diease, colchicine, idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.
Department of Internal Medicine B, Soroka University Medical Center, Beer-Sheva 84101, Israel.