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November 1957

Treatment of Acute Gouty Arthritis with Demecolcine

Author Affiliations


From the Medical Services, Maimonides Hospital of Brooklyn, and the Department of Medicine, State University of New York College of Medicine at New York City. Present address University of Miami, School of Medicine, Miami, Fla. (Dr. Colsky).

AMA Arch Intern Med. 1957;100(5):765-773. doi:10.1001/archinte.1957.00260110081012

Demecolcine (desacetylmethylcolchicine) is one of a number of alkaloids which have been isolated from the plant Colchicum autumnale, which is also the source of colchicine. The chemical structure of demecolcine differs from colchicine only in that a methyl group replaces the acetyl group at the N position of the colchicine molecule (Fig. 1).1,2

Numerous studies of the pharmacological effects of this drug in animals have been reported.1,3-5 It has been used in doses of 3 to 20 mg. daily for the treatment of patients with chronic myelogenous leukemia and other neoplastic diseases. Gastrointestinal disturbances, so commonly seen following the ingestion of much smaller doses of colchicine, have not been noted.3,4,6 Skin rash, depilation, and bone marrow depression, manifested by leukopenia, thrombopenia, and anemia, have occurred in some of these patients.3,4

Because of the chemical similarity of demecolcine and colchicine, we decided to observe its effect in

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