In typically dry Australian style, researchers from Tasmania recently introduced a study of curcumin extract for the management of knee OA by observing that current pharmacologic therapies for patients with osteoarthritis are sub-optimal. An understatement.

The randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial ought to determine the efficacy of Curcuma longa extract (CL) for reducing knee symptoms and effusion–synovitis in patients with symptomatic knee osteoarthritis and knee effusion–synovitis. 70 participants with symptomatic knee osteoarthritis and ultrasonography-defined effusion–synovitis were randomly assigned to receive 2 capsules of CL (n = 36) or matched placebo (n = 34) per day for 12 weeks. The 2 primary outcomes were changes in knee pain on a visual analogue scale (VAS) and effusion–synovitis volume on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The key secondary outcomes were change in . Outcomes were assessed over 12 weeks.

CL improved visual analogue scale (VAS) pain score in comparison to placebo by −9.1 mm (95% CI, −17.8 to −0.4 mm [P = 0.039]) but did not change effusion–synovitis volume (3.2 mL [CI, −0.3 to 6.8 mL]). CL also improved Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index (WOMAC) pain values knee pain values (−47.2 mm [CI, −81.2 to −13.2 mm]; P = 0.006) but not lateral femoral cartilage T2 relaxation time (−0.4 ms [CI, −1.1 to 0.3 ms]). The incidence of adverse events was similar in the two groups. The authors advocate for multicenter trials with larger sample sizes to assess the clinical significance of these findings. See the full details here