Short-term effects of highly-bioavailable curcumin for treating knee osteoarthritis: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled prospective study

J Orthop Sci. 2014 Nov;19(6):933-9. doi: 10.1007/s00776-014-0633-0. Epub 2014 Oct 13.


Background: We previously developed a surface-controlled water-dispersible form of curcumin and named it Theracurmin(®) (Theracurmin; Theravalues, Tokyo, Japan). The area under the blood concentration-time curve of Theracurmin in humans was 27-fold higher than that of curcumin powder. We determined the clinical effects of orally administered Theracurmin in patients with knee osteoarthritis during 8 weeks of treatment.

Methods: Fifty patients with knee osteoarthritis of Kellgren-Lawrence grade II or III and who were aged more than 40 years were enrolled in this randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, prospective clinical study. Placebo or Theracurmin containing 180 mg/day of curcumin was administered orally every day for 8 weeks. To monitor adverse events, blood biochemistry analyses were performed before and after 8 weeks of each intervention. The patients' knee symptoms were evaluated at 0, 2, 4, 6, and 8 weeks by the Japanese Knee Osteoarthritis Measure, the knee pain visual analog scale (VAS), the knee scoring system of the Japanese Orthopedic Association, and the need for nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.

Results: At 8 weeks after treatment initiation, knee pain VAS scores were significantly lower in the Theracurmin group than in the placebo group, except in the patients with initial VAS scores of 0.15 or less. Theracurmin lowered the celecoxib dependence significantly more than placebo. No major side effects were observed with Theracurmin treatment.

Conclusion: Theracurmin shows modest potential for the treatment of human knee osteoarthritis.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Aged
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / administration & dosage
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / pharmacokinetics
  • Biological Availability
  • Curcumin / administration & dosage
  • Curcumin / pharmacokinetics*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Osteoarthritis, Knee / diagnostic imaging
  • Osteoarthritis, Knee / drug therapy*
  • Osteoarthritis, Knee / metabolism
  • Prospective Studies
  • Radiography
  • Range of Motion, Articular / drug effects
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • Curcumin