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Tolerability of Curcumin in Pediatric Inflammatory Bowel Disease: A Forced-Dose Titration Study

Suskind, David L.*; Wahbeh, Ghassan*; Burpee, Tyler*; Cohen, Morty; Christie, Dennis*; Weber, Wendy

Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology & Nutrition: March 2013 - Volume 56 - Issue 3 - p 277–279
doi: 10.1097/MPG.0b013e318276977d
Original Articles: Gastroenterology

Background: Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is characterized by chronic intestinal inflammation in the absence of a recognized etiology. The primary therapies are medications that possess anti-inflammatory or immunosuppressive effects. Given the high use of complementary alternative medicines in pediatric IBD, a prospective tolerability study of curcumin, an herbal therapy with known anti-inflammatory effects, was conducted to assess possible dosage in children with IBD.

Methods: Prospectively, patients with Crohn disease or ulcerative colitis in remission or with mild disease (Pediatric Crohn's Disease Activity Index [PCDAI] <30 or Pediatric Ulcerative Colitis Activity Index [PUCAI] score <34) were enrolled in a tolerability study. All patients received curcumin in addition to their standard therapy. Patients initially received 500 mg twice per day for 3 weeks. Using the forced-dose titration design, doses were increased up to 1 g twice per day at week 3 for a total of 3 weeks and then titrated again to 2 g twice per day at week 6 for 3 weeks. Validated measures of disease activity, using the PUCAI and PCDAI, and the Monitoring of Side Effect System score were obtained at weeks 3, 6, and 9.

Results: All patients tolerated curcumin well, with the only symptom that was consistently reported during all 3 visits being an increase in gassiness, which occurred in only 2 patients. Three patients saw improvement in PUCAI/PCDAI score.

Conclusions: This pilot study suggests that curcumin may be used as an adjunctive therapy for individuals seeking a combination of conventional medicine and alternative medicine.

*Department of Pediatrics, Seattle Children's Hospital and University of Washington, Seattle

National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland

Pharmacy Department, Seattle Children's, Seattle, Washington.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to David L. Suskind, MD, Seattle Children's Hospital, 4800 Sandpoint Way NE, Seattle, WA 98105 (e-mail:

Received 22 February, 2012

Accepted 27 September, 2012 registration number NCT00889161 and IND 103,826.

This work was supported by grants from the Institute of Translational Health Sciences (ITHS) at the University of Washington. The institute is supported by grants UL1 RR025014, KL2 RR025015, and TL1 RR025016 from the NIH National Center for Research Resources.

The authors report no conflicts of interest.

Copyright 2013 by ESPGHAN and NASPGHAN