Aim: To evaluate the role of oral curcumin in inducing clinical remission in patients with mild to moderate ulcerative colitis (UC).
Methods: A prospective randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trial comparing the remission inducing effect of oral curcumin and mesalamine 2.4 g with placebo and mesalamine 2.4 g in patients of ulcerative colitis with mild to moderate severity was conducted from January 2003 to March 2005. The included patients received 1 capsule thrice a day of placebo or curcumin (150 mg) for 8 wk. Patients were evaluated clinically and endoscopically at 0, 4 and 8 wk. The primary outcome was clinical remission at 8 wk and secondary outcomes were clinical response, mucosal healing and treatment failure at 8 wk. The primary analysis was intention to treat worst case scenario (ITT-WCS).
Results: Of 300 patients with UC, 62 patients (curcumin: 29, placebo: 33) fulfilled the inclusion criteria and were randomized at baseline. Of these, 21 patients did not complete the trial, 41 patients (curcumin: 16, placebo: 25) finally completed 8 wk. There was no significant difference in rates of clinical remission (31.3% vs 27.3%, P = 0.75), clinical response (20.7% vs 36.4%, P = 0.18), mucosal healing (34.5% vs 30.3%, P = 0.72), and treatment failure (25% vs 18.5%, P = 0.59) between curcumin and placebo at 8 wk.
Conclusion: Low dose oral curcumin at a dose of 450 mg/d was ineffective in inducing remission in mild to moderate cases of UC.
Keywords: Curcumin; Mesalamine; Mucosal healing; Ulcerative colitis; Ulcerative colitis disease activity index.