Aim: A proprietary complex of curcumin with soy phosphatidylcholine (Meriva®, Indena SpA) was evaluated in a registry study to define its efficacy in 50 patients with osteoarthritis (OA) at dosages corresponding to 200 mg curcumin per diem.
Methods: OA signs/symptoms were evaluated by the WOMAC scores. Mobility was studied by walking performance (treadmill), and inflammatory status was assessed by measurements of C-reactive protein (CRP).
Results: After three months of treatment, the global WOMAC score decreased by 58% (P<0.05), walking distance in the treadmill test was prolonged from 76 m to 332 m (P<0.05), and CRP levels decreased from 168 +/- 18 to 11.3 +/-. 4.1 mg/L in the subpopulation with high CRP. In comparison, the control group experienced only a modest improvement in these parameters (2% in the WOMAC score, from 82 m to 129 m in the treadmill test, and from 175 +/- 12.3 to 112 +/- 22.2 mg/L in the CRP plasma concentration), while the treatment costs (use of anti-inflammatory drugs, treatment and hospitalization) were reduced significantly in the treatment group.
Conclusion: These results show that Meriva® is clinically effective in the management and treatment of osteoarthritis and suggest that the increased stability and better absorption of curcumin induced by complexation with phospholipids have clinical relevance, setting the stage for larger and more prolonged studies.