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  • Meeting abstract
  • Open Access

PW01-005 – Effects of placebo and colchicine on FMF patients

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Pediatric Rheumatology201311 (Suppl 1) :A58

  • Published:


  • Placebo
  • Colchicine
  • Familial Mediterranean Fever
  • Laboratory Parameter
  • Placebo Effect


The diagnosis of Familial Mediterranean fever (FMF) is basically a clinical one although genetic confirmation is of great help to the clinician. A response to colchicine has been suggested as a diagnostic criterion.


The placebo effect of a drug has never been assessed on FMF diagnosis. We aimed to assess this effect in children.


Patients who fulfilled the pediatric criteria for the diagnosis of FMF were included in this study. Demographic and clinical features (attack frequency, features of each attack, etc) were recorded. In first part of the study, patients were randomized in two treatment groups (colchicine and placebo) double blind, with a cross-over study design in 3 months duration.


A total amount of 50 patients (22 girls, 28 boys) were included. The median age of the patients was 8.5 years (2.5-17.5). 78% of the patients suffered from fever attacks suggestive of FMF every 1-4 weeks. The attack interval of the remaining patients was more than one month. At the time of admission, the median values for ESR and CRP were; 24.5 mm/hr (1-100) and 2 mg/dl (0-31), respectively. Half of the patients (n=25) were randomized to colchicine and the other half (n=25) to placebo. At the unblind period the results were assessed: patients treated with colchicine had lower ESR when compared to placebo in the first phase only (p=0.004). CRP, WBC and SAA levels were not statistically different neither in the first phase nor after the cross-over period. However, the number of attacks were significantly less in the colchicine group (median 0 attack) when compared to the placebo group (median 1 attack) (p=0.011).

In the study group, 13 patients were homozygous, 11 patients were compound heterozygous and seven patients were heterozygous for MEFV mutation. The rest of the patients (38%) did not carry any MEFV mutations.


The number of attacks were less in the colchicine group however, the lack of difference in the laboratory parameters suggest a marked placebo effect.

Disclosure of interest

None declared

Authors’ Affiliations

Pediatric Nephrology & Rheumatology, Hacettepe University Faculty of Medicine, Ankara, Turkey
Pediatric Nephrology & Rheumatology, Sami Ulus Children's Hospital, Ankara, Turkey


© Özaltın et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. 2013

This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.