Background: There is a need for safe, inexpensive, and effective psoriasis therapies. Many anecdotal accounts of patients' successful treatment with the alternative medicine curcumin exist.
Objective: We sought to determine the safety and efficacy of oral curcumin in patients with psoriasis.
Methods: We conducted a phase II, open-label, Simon's two-stage trial of 4.5 g/d of oral curcuminoid C3 complex in patients with plaque psoriasis. End points included improvement in Physicians Global Assessment score, Psoriasis Area and Severity Index score, and safety end points throughout the study.
Results: The intention-to-treat analysis response rate was 16.7% (95% confidence interval: 2%, 48%) and both responders achieved a Psoriasis Area and Severity Index 75 score. There were no study-related adverse events that necessitated participant withdrawal.
Limitations: Small sample size and lack of placebo group are limitations.
Conclusion: The response rate was low and possibly caused by a placebo effect or the natural history of psoriasis. Large placebo-controlled studies are necessary before recommending oral curcumin as a psoriasis treatment.