Against gout it has great effectiveness. But accidental overdose or abuse can be fatal. This is Colchicine, an anti-inflammatory drug that causes every year a few dozen cases of intoxication (fatal nine times out of ten) due to excessive intake. The risk also comes from a plant, the Colchicum Autumnale, from which colchicine is extracted. But it is often mistaken for wild saffron and ingested by mistake. To understand how to best treat these intoxications, a toxicologist from the Maugeri Poison Center in Pavia, Azzurra Schicchi, has developed a severity scale. In this way, clinicians are facilitated in understanding the urgency of interventions. “It is a nomogram, a graph that crosses intoxication values, times elapsed since intake and level of risk – explains Carlo Locatelli, director of the Center – and allows to obtain a given objective on the possibility of survival based on the measured value of colchicinemia “. Once validated, the tool can be used for urgent assessments and for the choices of early invasive treatments. Schicchi’s work has just received the «).
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The study on 77 cases
Schicchi based his scientific work on a very large case history for this type of poisoning: 77 intoxications, all from drugs, of which 25 treated by the Pavia Center in collaboration with the Analysis Laboratory of the San Matteo Polyclinic and 52 on which the Lariboisière Hospital of the Paris-Diderot University worked, directed by Bruno Mégarbane, at whose Toxicology he carried out part of his specialization. By analyzing the cases, she was able to identify the exact correlation between the dosage of this alkaloid and the mortality rate. The result? “The first 24 hours of colchicine poisoning are decisive for the clinical activities that must be adopted – explains the expert – and this nomogram can provide clinicians with the elements to quickly decide on the interventions to be implemented ».