Tolerability of curcumin in pediatric inflammatory bowel disease: a forced-dose titration study

J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 2013 Mar;56(3):277-9. doi: 10.1097/MPG.0b013e318276977d.


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: NCT00889161.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / administration & dosage
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / adverse effects*
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / therapeutic use
  • Child
  • Colitis, Ulcerative / diet therapy*
  • Colitis, Ulcerative / drug therapy
  • Colitis, Ulcerative / immunology
  • Colitis, Ulcerative / physiopathology
  • Combined Modality Therapy / adverse effects
  • Crohn Disease / diet therapy*
  • Crohn Disease / drug therapy
  • Crohn Disease / immunology
  • Crohn Disease / physiopathology
  • Curcumin / administration & dosage
  • Curcumin / adverse effects*
  • Curcumin / therapeutic use
  • Dietary Supplements / adverse effects*
  • Dietary Supplements / analysis
  • Female
  • Flatulence / etiology
  • Humans
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases / diet therapy
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases / drug therapy
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases / immunology
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Medicine, Ayurvedic
  • Mesalamine / therapeutic use
  • Pilot Projects
  • Remission Induction
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / antagonists & inhibitors


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • Mesalamine
  • Curcumin

Supplementary concepts

  • Pediatric Crohn's disease
  • Pediatric ulcerative colitis

Associated data