The CONVINCE trial (COlchiciNe for prevention of Vascular Inflammation in Non-CardioEmbolic stroke) is a clinical trial which is investigating the use of a low-dose of a drug called colchicine to prevent future strokes, heart attacks and death in patients who have previously had a transient ischaemic attack (TIA) or stroke.
This trial is already taking place in locations across Europe. Centres in nine countries (the UK, Ireland, Spain, Greece, Germany, Belgium, Estonia, Lithuania, and the Netherlands) are aiming to recruit a total of 3,623 patients to take part in the study.
Three funders have recently agreed to jointly fund an extension of this research to include centres in Northern Ireland and the border counties of the Republic of Ireland. This funding, from the Health and Social Care Research & Development (HSC R&D) division of the Public Health Agency (PHA) in Northern Ireland, the Stroke Association in the UK, and the Health Research Board in the Republic of Ireland, will give 200 stroke and TIA survivors living in these areas the opportunity to take part in this important trial.
Previous clinical trials have found that heart attack survivors treated with colchicine (a drug already used to treat gout) had fewer heart attacks and strokes, and fewer people died, compared to those who didn’t receive the drug. However, we don’t currently know if colchicine would have the same effect in stroke survivors. The CONVINCE trial hopes to answer this question.
CONVINCE is a randomised controlled trial which will involve people who have previously had a TIA or stroke. Half of the participants in the trial will be treated with colchicine as well as their usual medical care. The other half of the participants will receive their usual medical care but will not receive colchicine. This will allow the researchers to compare whether colchicine reduces heart attacks, strokes and death in this group.
This trial will tell us whether or not colchicine can reduce the risk of stroke and TIA survivors having further strokes.
If this is the case then colchicine could be offered to stroke survivors as treatment to help them to reduce their risk of having another stroke. As it’s already used to treat other conditions, such as gout, it would be easy and relatively cheap to re-purpose the drug to treat stroke survivors. Ultimately colchicine may have the potential to prevent stroke and TIA survivors from having further devastating strokes, which will allow them to focus on rebuilding their lives after stroke.