Colchicine clearance is impaired in alcoholic cirrhosis

Jonathan A. Leighton, Michael K. Bay, Alma L. Maldonado, Steven Schenker, K. Vincent Speeg

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34 Scopus citations


Colchicine may have benefit in primary biliary cirrhosis and alcoholic liver disease. It is currently used in patients with impaired liver function, yet little is known about its elimination in such patients. Colchicine clearance in the rat is significantly impaired in various models of liver disease. To study this in human beings, colchicine pharmacokinetics were compared in normal subjects and patients with alcoholic cirrhosis. Colchicine clearance was impaired in the cirrhotic patients. Normal subjects had a mean clearance of 10.65 ± 1.82 ml/mm · kg, whereas cirrhotic patients had a mean clearance of 4.22 ± 0.45 ml/mm · kg (p <0.01). The half‐life was 57.4 ± 14.2 min in control subjects vs. 114.4 ± 19.7 min in cirrhotic patients (p = 0.054). Volume of distribution was not different in the two groups (0.718 ± 0.1 L/kg in control subjects; 0.716 ± 0.158 L/kg in cirrhotic patients, p > 0.99). No correlation was seen between colchicine clearance and bilirubin, albumin, prothrombin time or Child‐Pugh classification, but this may be the result of the small number of patients studied. Based on the values measured, it is estimated that colchicine steady state would change from an average 1.12 ng/ml in normal individuals to 2.82 ng/ml in the cirrhotic patients if 0.6 mg were taken every 12 hr. It is unknown whether this change would be clinically significant. These data show that cirrhosis impairs colchicine clearance and demonstrates that the liver is a major route of colchicine elimination. HEPATOLOGY 1991;14:1013–1015.)

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1013-1015
Number of pages3
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1991

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hepatology


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