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Colchicine is the active principle of a Mediterranean plant, Colchicum autumnale, used since the time of ancient Greece for medicinal purposes. Colchicine was first isolated in 1820 by the French chemists P. S. Pelletier and J. B. Caventou. This drug was used for many years in the treatment of gout without official U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) evaluation. In 2009, the FDA approved colchicine for the treatment of familial Mediterranean fever, acute gout and for prophylaxis against gouty arthritis .
Due to its effect on polymorphonuclear leukocytes, colchicine has also been used in a range of inflammatory skin disorders.
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