Curcumin in Combination With Mesalamine Induces Remission in Patients With Mild-to-Moderate Ulcerative Colitis in a Randomized Controlled Trial

Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2015 Aug;13(8):1444-9.e1. doi: 10.1016/j.cgh.2015.02.019. Epub 2015 Feb 24.


Background & aims: The phytochemical compound curcumin was reported to be effective in maintaining remission in patients with ulcerative colitis (UC). We investigated curcumin's efficacy in inducing remission in patients with active mild-to-moderate UC.

Methods: We performed a multicenter randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind study of 50 mesalamine-treated patients with active mild-to-moderate UC (defined by the Simple Clinical Colitis Activity Index [SCCAI]) who did not respond to an additional 2 weeks of the maximum dose of mesalamine oral and topical therapy. Patients were randomly assigned to groups who were given curcumin capsules (3 g/day, n = 26) or an identical placebo (n = 24) for 1 month, with continued mesalamine. The primary outcome was the rate of clinical remission (SCCAI ≤2) at week 4. Clinical and endoscopic responses were also recorded.

Results: In the intention-to-treat analysis, 14 patients (53.8%) receiving curcumin achieved clinical remission at week 4, compared with none of the patients receiving placebo (P = .01; odds ratio [OR], 42; 95% confidence interval [CI], 2.3-760). Clinical response (reduction of ≥3 points in SCCAI) was achieved by 17 patients (65.3%) in the curcumin group vs. 3 patients (12.5%) in the placebo group (P < .001; OR, 13.2; 95% CI, 3.1-56.6). Endoscopic remission (partial Mayo score ≤1) was observed in 8 of the 22 patients evaluated in the curcumin group (38%), compared with none of 16 patients evaluated in the placebo group (P = .043; OR, 20.7; 95% CI, 1.1-393). Adverse events were rare and comparable between the 2 groups.

Conclusions: Addition of curcumin to mesalamine therapy was superior to the combination of placebo and mesalamine in inducing clinical and endoscopic remission in patients with mild-to-moderate active UC, producing no apparent adverse effects. Curcumin may be a safe and promising agent for treatment of UC. number: NCT01320436.

Keywords: Clinical Trial; IBD; Inflammatory Bowel Disease; Phytochemical.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / administration & dosage*
  • Colitis, Ulcerative / drug therapy*
  • Curcumin / administration & dosage*
  • Curcumin / adverse effects
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Drug Therapy, Combination / adverse effects
  • Drug Therapy, Combination / methods
  • Drug-Related Side Effects and Adverse Reactions / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mesalamine / administration & dosage*
  • Middle Aged
  • Placebos / administration & dosage
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • Placebos
  • Mesalamine
  • Curcumin

Associated data