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Lynchburg Journal of Medical Science

Lynchburg Journal of Medical Science

Specialty

Emergency medicine

Advisor

Thomas Colletti, DHSc

Abstract

ABSTRACT

Purpose: Osteoarthritis is a pervasive, degenerative, inflammatory condition that affects people all over the world. Its debilitating impacts affect activities of daily living and quality of life for millions of people and its direct and indirect costs total billions of dollars yearly. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are the first line treatment for osteoarthritis, but their long-term use includes gastrointestinal bleeding and kidney damage as adverse effects and presents a significant cause of concern for those utilizing them for therapy. Turmeric, a rhizomatous herb, has been effectively used in Ayurvedic medicine for generations as an anti-inflammatory. This paper will explore the recent evidence of the effectiveness of turmeric as an alternative treatment for osteoarthritis in adults.

Methods: The literature search was conducted using Medline, PubMed and Google Scholar for peer reviewed articles with timeframes no older than five years (2014+) that investigated the efficacy of turmeric (curcuminoid) therapy for patients suffering from knee osteoarthritis. The expansive results were refined by limitations including random controlled trials and human only studies. Data was drawn from six highly specific and timely studies upon which this paper is based.

Results: Six studies with a total of 627 subjects with knee osteoarthritis were included. All studies were conducted in Asia. Curcuminoids significantly reduced knee pain based on visual analogue scores and improved subjects’ quality of life. Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Arthritis Index scores were significantly improved and the use of breakthrough medications was measurably reduced through the use of curcuminoids. The study subjects reported no adverse events.

Conclusions: In the last five years, multiple studies have demonstrated the efficacious nature of turmeric in the treatment of osteoarthritis as both a standalone treatment and as an adjunct to standard therapies to minimize the risks associated with their adverse effects. The studies reviewed were small, used varying amounts of curcuminoid with inconsistent methods of improving bioavailability, and all were conducted in Asia therefore necessitating further clinical investigation.

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