Prescription of colchicine with other dangerous concomitant medications: A nation-wide survey using the Japanese claims database

Shungo Imai, Kenji Momo, Hitoshi Kashiwagi, Takayuki Miyai, Mitsuru Sugawara, Yoh Takekuma

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


The anti-inflammatory agent colchicine may cause toxic effects such as rhabdomyolysis, pancytopenia, and acute respiratory distress syndrome in cases of overdose and when patients have renal or liver impairment. As colchicine is a substrate for CYP3A4 and P-glycoprotein (P-gp), drug-drug interactions are important factors that cause fatal colchicine-related side effects. Thus, we conducted a nation-wide survey to determine the status of inappropriate colchicine prescriptions in Japan. Patients prescribed the regular use of colchicine from April 2014 to March 2017 were identified using the Japanese large health insurance claims database. As the primary endpoint, we evaluated the concomitant prescription proportions of strong CYP3A4 and/or P-gp inhibitors classified as “contraindications for co-administration” with colchicine in patients with renal or liver impairment. We defined these cases as “inappropriate colchicine prescriptions.” Additionally, factors affecting inappropriate colchicine prescriptions were analyzed. Among the 3302 enrolled patients, 43 (1.30%) were inappropriately prescribed colchicine. Of these 43 patients, 11 had baseline renal and/or liver impairment. By multiple regression analysis, the primary diseases “gout” and “Behçet's disease” were extracted as independent factors for inappropriate colchicine prescriptions with odds ratios of 0.40 (95% confidence interval: 0.19-0.84) and 4.93 (95% confidence interval: 2.12-11.5), respectively. We found that approximately 1% of patients had important colchicine interactions. Particularly, Behçet's disease was a risk factor for inappropriate prescriptions, with approximately 25% of patients showing renal and/or liver impairment (classified as “contraindications for co-administration”). These findings may be useful for medical professionals who prescribe colchicine therapy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1519-1925
Number of pages407
JournalBiological and Pharmaceutical Bulletin
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Oct 1
Externally publishedYes


  • Colchicine
  • CYP
  • Drug-drug interaction
  • Insurance claim
  • P-glycoprotein

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmaceutical Science


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