Purpose To determine whether supplementation with turmeric or curcumin extract effects pain and physical function in individuals with knee osteoarthritis (OA). Second, we investigated the therapeutic response (pain and function) of turmeric compared with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
Methods A search was conducted in MEDLINE, Embase, CINAHL and Cochrane Review. Inclusion criteria included randomised controlled trials reporting pain and physical function in humans with knee OA comparing turmeric therapy with NSAIDs or no therapy. Two reviewers screened 5273 abstracts. Risk of bias and quality were assessed via Cochrane Collaboration tool and CONSORT (Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials) 2010, respectively.
Results Ten studies were included in the final analysis. Eight had high methodological quality and two were categorised as good with a mean CONSORT quality score of 21.1. Nine studies had adequate sequence generation and six had adequate allocation concealment. Participants and outcome assessors were blinded in eight studies. Three of the studies compared turmeric therapy to NSAIDs. All 10 studies showed improvement in pain and function from baseline with turmeric therapy (p≤0.05). In three studies comparing turmeric to NSAIDs, there were no differences in outcome scores (p>0.05). In all studies there were no significant adverse events in the turmeric therapy group.
Conclusion Compared with placebo, there appears to be a benefit of turmeric on knee OA pain and function. Based on a small number of studies the effects are similar to that of NSAIDs. Variables such as optimal dosing, frequency and formulation remain unclear at this time.
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Contributors Kristopher Paultre is the primary author of paper and involved in all portions. Daniel Hernandez is a co-author who contributed to methods, review of the literature and bias assessment. William Cade provided statistical analysis and contributed to Table 3. Dylan Greif provided formatting of manuscript, tables and charts. John Reynolds provided guidance on strategies for database search. Thomas Best was the supervising PI for the study.
Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.
Competing interests None declared.
Patient consent for publication Not required.
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