Background: Osteoarthritis is a common problem affecting the joints in the elderly, caused disability and consequently decrease the quality of life. The conservative treatment includes the usage of analgesia, but the use of herbal medicine is growing. Momordica charantia or bitter melon has been widely described to have anti-diabetic and anti-inflammatory effects. However, its effect on reducing pain in primary knee osteoarthritis is not well studied. We aim to determine the effects of Momordica charantia in reducing pain among primary knee osteoarthritis patients.
Materials and methods: Thirty-eight and thirty-seven primary knee osteoarthritis patients underwent 3 months of Momordica charantia and placebo supplementation respectively. Three 500 mg per capsule of Momordica charantia were taken thrice daily. Rescue analgesia was allowed as needed. Pain and symptoms throughout the Momordica charantia supplementation period were assessed using Knee Injury and Osteoarthritis Outcome Score and EQ-5D-3L Health questionnaire, while rescue analgesia intake throughout the period of supplementation was measured using analgesic score.
Results: After 3 months supplementation period, body weight, body mass index, and fasting blood glucose reduced significantly in the Momordica charantia group. There were also significant improvements in Knee Injury and Osteoarthritis Outcome Score subscales and EQ-5D-3L dimension score, and reduction in analgesic score. The placebo group had also shown significant improvements in certain Knee Injury and Osteoarthritis Outcome Score subscales and EQ-5D-3L dimension score, but with increased of the analgesic score.
Conclusion: Momordica charantia supplementation offers a safe alternative to reducing pain and improving symptoms among the primary knee osteoarthritis patients while reducing the need for analgesia consumption. These beneficial effects can be seen as early as 3 months of supplementation.
Keywords: Analgesic; Bitter melon; Momordica charantia; Osteoarthritis.
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