Medicinal perspectives of colchicine and its derivatives: recent progress and challenges

Document Type : Narrative Review


1 Department of Bacteriology, Faculty of Medical Sciences, Tarbiat Modares University, Tehran, Iran

2 Department of Biological Science, Faculty of Science, University of Kurdistan, Sanandaj, Kurdistan, Iran



Various therapeutic effects have been found for alkaloids. However, severe side effects can limit the clinical applications of these bioactive compounds. Colchicine alkaloid as an anti-inflammatory agent can be used by oral administration to heal familial Mediterranean fever, gout disease, the management of pericarditis, neutrophilic dermatoses, and urticarial vasculitis. At high doses, multiple side effects involving gastrointestinal upset, rhabdomyolysis, and low blood cells are expected for this metabolite. In addition to the anti-inflammatory effect, anticancer and antimicrobial activities have been reported for this classical drug. Recent studies about drug delivery based on micro or nanosystems of colchicine showed promising aspects for side passing severe side effects. In this way, this review has tried to cover these studies focusing on advances and limitations for obtaining effective formulations.

Graphical Abstract

Medicinal perspectives of colchicine and its derivatives: recent progress and challenges


  • Colchicine can inhibit microtubule dynamics and cell migration via polymerization blocking.
  • Angiogenesis and metastatic cells may be hindered by colchicine in suitable doses.
  • Viral trafficking and the formation of double-membrane vesicles have been blocked by colchicine.
  • Nanocarriers such as liposomes, tocosomes, metal/metal oxide NPs, and MSNs may be applied for encapsulation or loading of colchicine.


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