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Curcumin supported greater improvement in RA disease activity, tenderness & swelling than diclofenac; without side effects

  [ 16 votes ]   [ Discuss This Article ] • March 24, 2012

A Randomized, Pilot Study to Assess the Efficacy and Safety of Curcumin in Patients with Active Rheumatoid Arthritis
– Source: Phytotherapy Research, Mar 9, 2012

Binu Chandran, Ajay Goel

[Note: The NSAID drug diclofenac commonly used for rheumatoid arthritis pain / inflammation, has a number of potential side effects, starting with stomach irritation/ulcers, as with aspirin. Curcumin is a component of the curry spice, turmeric. Recently a similar study involved osteoarthritis patients and involved a comparison of a group supplemented with curcumin vs a group treated with the drug celecoxib (Celebrex®).]

Curcumin is known to possess potent anti-inflammatory and anti-arthritic properties.

This pilot clinical study evaluated the safety and effectiveness of curcumin alone, and in combination with diclofenac sodium in patients with active rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

Forty-five patients diagnosed with RA were randomized into three groups with patients receiving curcumin (500mg) and diclofenac sodium (50mg) alone or their combination.

The primary endpoints were reduction in Disease Activity Score (DAS) 28. The secondary endpoints included American College of Rheumatology (ACR) criteria for reduction in tenderness and swelling of joint scores.

Patients in all three treatment groups showed statistically significant changes in their DAS scores.


•  The curcumin group showed the highest percentage of improvement in overall DAS and ACR scores (ACR 20, 50 and 70).

•  And these scores were significantly better than the patients in the diclofenac sodium group.

•  More importantly, curcumin treatment was found to be safe and did not relate with any adverse events.

Our study:

•  Provides the first evidence for the safety and superiority of curcumin treatment in patients with active RA,

•  And highlights the need for future large-scale trials to validate these findings in patients with RA and other arthritic conditions.

Source: Phytotherapy Research, Mar 9, 2012. PMID:22407780, Chandran B, Goel A.  Nirmala Medical Centre, Muvattupuzha, Kerala, India.

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