Pharmacokinetic interactions of curcuminoids with conventional drugs: A review

J Ethnopharmacol. 2017 Sep 14:209:1-12. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2017.07.022. Epub 2017 Jul 19.


Ethnopharmacological relevance: Herb-drug interactions are of great concern in health practices. Curcumin is a natural polyphenol extracted from turmeric, a spice widely used all over the world. Curcumin is clinically used due to its acceptable safety profile and therapeutic efficacy.

Aim of the study: Current paper aims to highlight the effect of curcumin on concomitantly used drugs.

Methods: Electronic databases including PubMed, Scopus and Science Direct were searched with the keywords "curcumin" in the title/abstract and "drug interaction," "drug metabolism," "cytochrome," "P-glycoprotein" and "P450" in the whole text.

Results: Curcumin can induce pharmacokinetic alterations such as changes in Cmax and AUC when concomitantly used with pharmacological agents like cardiovascular drugs, antidepressants, anticoagulants, antibiotics, chemotherapeutic agents, and antihistamines. The underlying mechanisms of these interactions include inhibition of cytochrome (CYP) isoenzymes and P-glycoprotein. There is only one clinical trial which proved a significant alteration of conventional drugs in concomitant use with curcumin indicating the need for further human studies.

Conclusions: Although in vitro and in vivo studies do not provide enough evidence to judge the clinical drug interactions of curcumin, physicians must remain cautious and avoid drug combinations which may lead to curcumin-drug interactions.

Keywords: Curcumin; Curcuminoids; Cytochrome; Drug interaction; P-glycoprotein.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • ATP Binding Cassette Transporter, Subfamily B / metabolism
  • Curcumin / analogs & derivatives*
  • Curcumin / pharmacology*
  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme System / metabolism
  • Herb-Drug Interactions*
  • Humans


  • ATP Binding Cassette Transporter, Subfamily B
  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme System
  • Curcumin