HealthDay News — For patients with knee osteoarthritis, Curcuma longa extract (CL) is more effective than placebo for knee pain but does not improve knee effusion-synovitis, according to a study published online in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Zhiqiang Wang, MPharm, from the University of Tasmania in Australia, and colleagues examined the efficacy of CL for reducing knee symptoms and effusion-synovitis in patients with knee osteoarthritis. Seventy patients were randomly assigned to either 2 capsules of CL (36 patients) or matched placebo (34 patients) daily for 12 weeks.

The researchers found that compared with placebo, CL improved pain on a visual analog scale by −9.1 mm, while there was no change in effusion-synovitis volume. In addition, there was improvement in the Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index knee pain (−47.2 mm) but no improvement in lateral femoral cartilage T2 relaxation time. The incidence of adverse events was similar in the CL and placebo groups (39% and 53%, respectively); 2 and 5 events in the CL and placebo groups, respectively, may have been related to treatment.

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“CL improved knee pain vs placebo in patients with knee osteoarthritis with local inflammation over 12 weeks, with no increase in adverse events,” the authors write. “The effect on pain was only moderate; however, it was achieved without any effect on knee structural measures assessed by magnetic resonance imaging.”

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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