Dallas, TX, March 30, 2012—A patented, high bioavailability curcumin (BCM-95®) was found to be equal to the prescription rheumatoid arthritis drug, diclofenac sodium, but with fewer adverse effects, in a clinical study of rheumatoid arthritis published March 9, 2012.1

The study, “A Randomized, Controlled Human Clinical Study to Assess the Efficacy and Safety of Curcumin Compared to Diclofenac sodium in the Management of Active Rheumatoid Arthritis,” followed 45 subjects, randomized to three groups, for 8 weeks. Group one received diclofenac sodium, 50 mg, twice daily; group two received  500 mg BCM-95 high absorption curcumin twice daily; and group three received both diclofenac sodium and BCM-95 curcumin. In the BCM-95 curcumin groups, there were no drop outs due to adverse effects, but in the diclofenac sodium group, 14% withdrew due to adverse effects.

“The drugs used for people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) can have severe adverse effects. And since RA can strike at a much younger age than other types of arthritis, we need to find healthy ways to treat these people, as their treatment may last several decades, or until a cure is found. Being able to reduce prescription drug use in this population is a major goal,” stated the co-lead author of this study, Dr. Ajay Goel, Director, Epigenetics and Cancer Prevention at Baylor University Medical Center, in Dallas, TX, “Our study is the first to demonstrate the safety and effectiveness of curcumin treatment in patients with active RA, and highlights the need for future large-scale trials to further validate these findings in patients with RA and other arthritic conditions.”

“We were concerned that plain curcumin would not be well absorbed and so we chose a specific type called BCM-95 curcumin, because it has published human data showing it is absorbed between 7 and 10 times better than plain curcumin,” added Dr. Binu Chandran, Consultant Orthopedic Surgeon at Nirmala Medical Centre, a co-lead author of the study.

All study participants had diagnosed rheumatoid arthritis, functional class I or II. Laboratory studies on kidney and liver function, blood sugar, and a complete blood count were performed before and after participation. There were no significant changes in these measurements in general in all the groups. One laboratory analysis adverse event was reported in the drug (diclofenac sodium) group.

In the Disease Activity Score (DAS)28 assessment which includes assessments of joint swelling and pain, BCM-95 curcumin had the highest impact for reducing disease symptoms, followed by BCM-95 curcumin with diclofenac sodium, with the diclofenac sodium-alone group third. However, though the numbers were higher in the BCM-95 group, none of the differences between the drug and curcumin group were statistically significant together as for effectiveness.

The BCM-95® group showed improvement over others in reducing C-reactive protein (CRP) a measure of chronic inflammation, and antistreptococcal antibodies (ASO) titers, which are associated with severity of RA activity.

1. Chandran B, Goel A. A Randomized, Pilot Study to Assess the Efficacy and Safety of Curcumin in Patients with Active Rheumatoid Arthritis. Phytother Res. (2012). Available at: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ptr.4639/abstract