Gout Drug (And Others Off Label) Treats Covid-19 Symptoms

Gout Drug (And Others Off Label) Treats Covid-19 Symptoms

It seems a return to normal life continues to be a challenge, as a wave of the Delta variant infections rip across continents. Compared to other SARS-CoV-2 (Covid-19) variants that alerted the world to the pandemic of 2020, the Delta variant is more infectious even in some vaccinated individuals.

There is much interest in discovering off label prescriptions to use to help diminish the potentially serious Covid-19 symptoms. This means the doctor prescribes a drug for a different condition or dose than the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) originally approved it for. The best medical treatment for Covid-19 remains unclear but repurposing colchicine has been applied in the Covid-19 pandemic.

This brings me to a personal family story. A close family member and her partner are both vaccinated but they caught Covid in August 2021 and thankfully they have both since recovered. What is curious is one had serious symptoms but thankfully stayed out of the hospital by resting, taking prescribed antibiotics and steroids, along with vitamin supplements.

We were most worried for the other family member, who suffers from severe rheumatoid arthritis and has other comorbidities, however her Covid-19 symptoms were mild. She lost the classic symptom of taste and smell, and experienced headaches, but she fared well. I later learned that she is taking colchicine, an FDA-Approved drug used in the treatment of gout that was prescribed for her chronic leg wounds. You can read more about gout here. Her doctor said that colchicum may have helped with her Covid-19 symptoms.

Colchicine is an old drug that comes from a flowering plant in the lily family that blooms in autumn, thus called Colchicum autumnale, or autumn crocus. The swollen underground stem of C. autumnale contains the colchicine extract, a substance used since 1500 BC to relieve joint inflammation and gout flares. Colchicine is sold as a prescription such as Mitigare and Colcrys.

The anti-inflammatory properties of colchicine via several pathways may treat Covid-19 patients. Studies find that colchicine treatment for Covid-19 produces significantly lower risk of mortality. It is reported that colchicine reduced lung injury in rats with acute respiratory syndrome. Colchicine is cheap, readily available, deemed safe, and doctors are familiar with its usage. Side effects are mainly gastrointestinal and usually mild and tolerable.

There are other antiviral drugs to help combat Covid-19. Severe Covid-19 produces systemic inflammation that progresses to acute respiratory failure or abnormal overactive blood clotting throughout the body’s blood vessels. Remdesivir reports a better outcome for patients who require oxygen without mechanical ventilation.

Corticosteroids have strong anti-inflammatory effects, and better outcomes are seen in some patients receiving dexamethasone.

Remarkable effects of using a IL-6 receptor inhibitor has been beneficial in patients with severe Covid-19. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), there are two available drugs based on human monoclonal antibodies against IL-6 receptor, tocilizumab (RoActemra, Roche) and sarilumab (Kevzara, Sanofi). IL-6 receptor inhibitors are currently licensed for several autoimmune disorders and are considered well tolerated and safe in general.

Janus Kinase (JAK) inhibitors, used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel diseases (IBDs), and other conditions, have been shown to prevent the immune activation and inflammation observed in Covid-19 patients. JAK inhibitors, particularly baricitinib, also have a direct antiviral activity by protecting a susceptible cell from the virus being able to enter it and infect the cell. There have been recent FDA changes in guidelines about JAK inhibitors that are very restrictive and you should consider when taking these drugs. You can read more about this here.

Hydroxychloroquine was commonly used in the early pandemic, but was seldom used after June 2020.

While the search for the optimal treatment against Covid-19 is still congoing, colchicine seems to be another drug to help with early onset Covid-19 symptoms. Further well-designed randomized controlled trials are required to be certain of the benefits of colchicine treatment and determine the optimal regimen.

About The Author

Kendra Evans

Kendra Evans founded Inflammation Guide in April 2020. Our goal is keeping our readers informed to help them live an empowered and full life while they manage inflammation. Inflammation Guide provides a central location for breaking news and updates on prescriptions, treatments, supplements and alternative wellness solutions to give options to people living with at least one inflammatory condition.

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