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July 1957

Demecolcine (Colcemid) Toxicity

Author Affiliations

U. S. Army

Department of Hematology, Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (Capt. Sheehy), and Department of Medicine, Walter Reed Army Hospital (Capt. Ransone), WRAMC, Washington 12, D. C.

AMA Arch Intern Med. 1957;100(1):85-89. doi:10.1001/archinte.1957.00260070099011

In 1950, demecolcine (Colcemid) was isolated from Colchicum autumnale.1 In 1953, Moeschlin et al.2 reported its use and beneficial effects in a case of chronic granulocytic leukemia, with a fall in white cell count, a decrease in splenomegaly, and increased erythroid elements in the marrow. The doses ranged from 3 to 8 mg. daily.

In 1955, Leonard and Wilkinson3 confirmed Moeschlin's findings in eight cases of chronic granulocytic leukemia in which a dosage of 3 to 10 mg. daily for four to nine months was used. The toxic effects were mild and consisted of some loss of scalp hair, erythema of the scrotum, and, in one case, congestion and erythema of the pharynx.

Our report is prompted by the sudden and severe side-effects in one patient with follicular lymphoma and in another patient with chronic granulocytic leukemia who were both given demecolcine.

Report of Cases 

Case 1. 

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