NEW ORLEANS — Could a common drug used for gout lower the risk of diabetes?

That’s what a recent study in the journal Clinical Therapeutics endeavored to find out.1

The study team led by Tulane University researchers conducted a retrospective study of 27,876 adults with gout identified via the Veterans Integrated Services Network 16 data warehouse.

Patients in the study had up to 11 years of follow-up, from January 1999 through December 2010, and the final study sample consisted of 1,046 pairs of 1:1 propensity score-matched patients from the colchicine treated and control cohorts. The researchers’ focus was on time to first diabetes development since the first gout diagnosis was modeled.

Results indicate that, among the matched pairs, 234 veterans who had taken colchicine and 224 veterans who had never taken colchicine developed diabetes; the incidence rates were 38.95 and 39.02 per 1000 patient-years, respectively.

In Poisson and Cox proportional hazards regression, however, the risk of incident diabetes was reduced with increased duration of colchicine use, although the difference was not statistically significant. In further analysis, hazard ratio for incident diabetes among patients who had taken colchicine was 0.877 compared with those who had not taken colchicine.

“This study suggests a possible duration- or dose-related association between colchicine use and reduced risk of diabetes in adults with gout even though the risk reduction was not significant,” according to the study authors, who called for further studies to confirm their findings.

1 Wang L, Sawhney M, Zhao Y, Carpio GR, Fonseca V, Shi L. Association Between Colchicine and Risk of Diabetes Among the Veterans Affairs Population With Gout. Clin Ther. 2015 Jun 1;37(6):1206-15. doi: 10.1016/j.clinthera.2015.03.010. Epub 2015 Apr 7. PubMed PMID: 25857595.