Curcumin versus Prescription Drugs Research Round Up


Safety and efficacy of curcumin versus diclofenac in knee osteoarthritis: a randomized, open-label, parallel-arm study.

Background: The purpose of this study was to compare the efficacy and safety of curcumin with those of diclofenac in the treatment of knee osteoarthritis (OA).

Methods: In this randomized, open-label, parallel, active controlled clinical study, 139 patients with knee OA were randomly assigned to receive either a curcumin 500 mg (BCM-95®) capsule three times daily or a diclofenac 50 mg tablet two times daily for 28 days. Patients underwent assessment at baseline days 7, 14, and 28. The main outcome measure was severity of pain using visual analogue scale score at days 14 and 28. Knee Injury and Osteoarthritis Outcome Score (KOOS) (at days 14 and 28), anti-flatulent effect (at day 7), anti-ulcer effect, weight-lowering effect, and patient’s and physician’s global assessment of therapy at day 28 were included as secondary outcome measures. Safety after treatment was evaluated by recording adverse events and laboratory investigation.

Results: At days 14 and 28, patients receiving curcumin showed similar improvement in severity of pain and KOOS scale when compared with diclofenac, and the difference was not statistically significant. At day 7, the patients who received curcumin experienced a significantly greater reduction in the number of episodes of flatulence compared with diclofenac (P <0.01). At day 28, a weight-lowering effect (P <0.01) and anti-ulcer effect (P <0.01) of curcumin were observed. None of the patients required H2 blockers in the curcumin group, and 19 patients required H2 blockers in the diclofenac group (0% versus 28%, respectively; P <0.01). Adverse effects were significantly less in the curcumin group (13% versus 38% in the diclofenac group; P <0.01). Patient’s and physician’s global assessment of therapy was similar in the two treatment groups.

Conclusion: Curcumin has similar efficacy to diclofenac but demonstrated better tolerance among patients with knee OA. Curcumin can be an alternative treatment option in the patients with knee OA who are intolerant to the side effects of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. (NSAIDs)


What It Means to You:

The most commonly used drugs for osteoarthritis are called non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs. The over the counter versions are products like ibuprofen and naproxen sodium, but there are prescription-strength NSAIDs as well. The problem with these drugs is their side effect profile, which includes stomach ulcers, gastrointestinal bleeding, and an increased risk of heart attack and stroke. Despite these serious side effects, many people think they are the only option. This study proves that curcumin worked as well as the prescription NSAID drug, but without the risk.

Curcumin relieves pain and also stops inflammatory damage to the joints through many pathways, helping your body heal and not just masking underlying problems. This clinical study compared a curcumin blended with turmeric essential oil, a source of ar-turmerone (BCM-95®), which enhances its absorption and blood retention, to a commonly used prescription NSAID drug, diclofenac sodium (one brand name for this drug is Voltaren).