Background: Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is characterized by chronic intestinal inflammation in the absence of a recognized etiology. The primary therapies are medications that possess anti-inflammatory or immunosuppressive effects. Given the high use of complementary alternative medicines in pediatric IBD, a prospective tolerability study of curcumin, an herbal therapy with known anti-inflammatory effects, was conducted to assess possible dosage in children with IBD.
Methods: Prospectively, patients with Crohn disease or ulcerative colitis in remission or with mild disease (Pediatric Crohn's Disease Activity Index [PCDAI] <30 or Pediatric Ulcerative Colitis Activity Index [PUCAI] score <34) were enrolled in a tolerability study. All patients received curcumin in addition to their standard therapy. Patients initially received 500 mg twice per day for 3 weeks. Using the forced-dose titration design, doses were increased up to 1 g twice per day at week 3 for a total of 3 weeks and then titrated again to 2 g twice per day at week 6 for 3 weeks. Validated measures of disease activity, using the PUCAI and PCDAI, and the Monitoring of Side Effect System score were obtained at weeks 3, 6, and 9.
Results: All patients tolerated curcumin well, with the only symptom that was consistently reported during all 3 visits being an increase in gassiness, which occurred in only 2 patients. Three patients saw improvement in PUCAI/PCDAI score.
Conclusions: This pilot study suggests that curcumin may be used as an adjunctive therapy for individuals seeking a combination of conventional medicine and alternative medicine.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00889161.