A small, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial in Thailand suggests that turmeric has comparable efficacy to omeprazole for treating functional dyspepsia.
The researchers randomly assigned 206 patients to receive curcumin ― the active ingredient in turmeric ― alone; omeprazole alone; or curcumin plus omeprazole for 28 days. A total of 151 patients completed the study.
Doses were two 250-mg curcumin pills four times daily, plus one placebo pill; one 20-mg omeprazole pill daily, plus two placebo pills four times daily; or two 250-mg curcumin pills four times daily, plus one 20-mg omeprazole pill once daily.
Symptoms of functional dyspepsia were assessed on days 28 and 56 using the Severity of Dyspepsia Assessment (SODA) score.
In the combined group, the curcumin-alone group, and the omeprazole-alone group, SODA scores for pain severity declined significantly by day 28 (-4.83, -5.46, and -6.22, respectively), as did scores for severity of other symptoms (-2.22, -2.32, and -2.31, respectively).
Symptom improvements were even stronger by day 56 for pain (-7.19, -8.07, -8.85) and other symptoms (-4.09, -4.12, -3.71) in the same groups.
Curcumin was safe and well tolerated, but satisfaction scores did not change significantly over time among those taking it, suggesting the possible need for improvement in its taste or smell.
There was no synergistic effect between omeprazole and curcumin.
“The new findings from our study may justify considering curcumin in clinical practice. This multicenter randomized controlled trial provides highly reliable evidence for the treatment of functional dyspepsia,” the authors write.
Pradermchai Kongkam, MD, of Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, and Wichittra Khongkha of Chao Phraya Abhaibhubejhr Hospital, Prachin Buri, Thailand, are joint first authors. The study was published online September 11 in BMJ Evidence-Based Medicine.
A small number of participants in each group were lost to follow-up, and the follow-up period was short (less than 2 months) for all.
The study was funded by the Thai Traditional and Alternative Medicine Fund. The authors have disclosed no relevant financial relationships.
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