International Health News

Curcumin successfully treats rheumatoid arthritis

KERALA, INDIA. A pilot randomized study has reported comparing the turmeric-derived spice curcumin alone (500 mg/day) to the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory diclofenac sodium (Voltaren) 20 mg/day, alone or in combination for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. It was found that curcumin alone was equal or better than the pharmaceutical alone. The curcumin preparation used was reported to have six- to eight-fold enhanced bioavailability over ordinary preparations (curcumin with enhanced bioavailability is available from Life Extension). Curcumin performed best when judged by most of the components of the American College of Rheumatology assessment criteria such as total painful or swollen joints, patient or physician global assessment or a disability measure. Curcumin was also better than diclofenac in decreasing erythrocyte sedimentation rates, a measure of systemic inflammation. There was little to recommend the combined therapy, and the pharmaceutical approach had a number of unpleasant side effects which were absent with curcumin. Curcumin has been studied extensively over the years and toxicity even at high doses has not been reported. The dose used in this study may have been unnecessarily conservative since much higher doses have been used in clinical trials for other disorders.

Chandran B, Goel A. A randomized, pilot study to assess the efficacy and safety of curcumin in patients with active rheumatoid arthritis. Phytother Res. 2012;26:1719-1725

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