Background: The purpose of this study was to compare the efficacy and safety of curcumin with those of diclofenac in the treatment of knee osteoarthritis (OA).
Methods: In this randomized, open-label, parallel, active controlled clinical study, 139 patients with knee OA were randomly assigned to receive either a curcumin 500-mg (BCM-95®) capsule three times daily or a diclofenac 50-mg tablet two times daily for 28 days. Patients underwent assessment at baseline and days 7, 14, and 28. The main outcome measure was severity of pain using visual analogue scale score at days 14 and 28. Knee Injury and Osteoarthritis Outcome Score (KOOS) (at days 14 and 28), anti-flatulent effect (at day 7), anti-ulcer effect, weight-lowering effect, and patient's and physician's global assessment of therapy at day 28 were included as secondary outcome measures. Safety after treatment was evaluated by recording adverse events and laboratory investigation.
Results: At days 14 and 28, patients receiving curcumin showed similar improvement in severity of pain and KOOS scale when compared with diclofenac, and the difference was not statistically significant. At day 7, the patients who received curcumin experienced a significantly greater reduction in the number of episodes of flatulence compared with diclofenac (P <0.01). At day 28, a weight-lowering effect (P <0.01) and anti-ulcer effect (P <0.01) of curcumin were observed. None of the patients required H2 blockers in the curcumin group, and 19 patients required H2 blockers in the diclofenac group (0% versus 28%, respectively; P <0.01). Adverse effects were significantly less in the curcumin group (13% versus 38% in the diclofenac group; P <0.01). Patient's and physician's global assessment of therapy was similar in the two treatment groups.
Conclusion: Curcumin has similar efficacy to diclofenac but demonstrated better tolerance among patients with knee OA. Curcumin can be an alternative treatment option in the patients with knee OA who are intolerant to the side effects of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
Trial registration: ISRCTN, ISRCTN10074826 . Registered 21 November 2017 - Retrospectively registered.
Keywords: Anti-flatulent; Anti-ulcer; BCM-95; Curcumin; Knee osteoarthritis; Pain; Weight-lowering.