Background & objectives: Oxidative stress occurs in association with painful exacerbations of chronic pancreatitis and antioxidant supplementation appears to benefit this condition. Curcumin, the active constituent of turmeric, is known to exhibit antioxidant activity. This pilot study was therefore undertaken to evaluate the effect of oral curcumin with piperine on the pain, and the markers of oxidative stress in patients with tropical pancreatitis (TP).
Methods: Twenty consecutive patients with tropical pancreatitis were randomised to receive 500 mg of curcumin with 5 mg of piperine, or placebo for 6 wk, and the effects on the pattern of pain, and on red blood cell levels of malonyldialdehyde (MDA) and glutathione (GSH) were assessed.
Results: There was a significant reduction in the erythrocyte MDA levels following curcumin therapy compared with placebo; with a significant increase in GSH levels. There was no corresponding improvement in pain.
Interpretation & conclusion: Oral curcumin with piperine reversed lipid peroxidation in patients with tropical pancreatitis. Further studies with large sample are needed to define its effect on the pain and other manifestations of tropical pancreatitis.