The Effect of Curcumin Ointment on the Quality of Life of Older Adults with Knee Osteoarthritis: A Randomized Placebo Clinical Trial

Document Type : Original Article


Background: Knee osteoarthritis (KO) is one of the most common health problems affecting the quality of life (QOL) in older adults. Objective: Because improving the QOL is one of the important therapeutic goals, this study aimed to investigate the effect of curcumin ointment on the QOL in older adults with KO. Methods: This double‑blind randomized clinical trial was performed from February 20, to June 22, 2019, on 72 older adults with KO referring to the office of a physician in Kashan, Iran. The individuals with eligibility criteria were recruited sequentially and were randomly assigned to two groups of 36 to apply either curcumin 5% ointment or Vaseline ointment twice daily for 6 weeks around the knee. The Osteoarthritis Knee and Hip Quality of Life questionnaire was used to measure the patients’ QOL at the beginning of the study, and at the end of the 4th and 6th weeks. The Fisher’s exact test, independent samples t‑test, Friedman test, and repeated‑measures analysis were used for data analysis. Results: The mean baseline QOL scores in the intervention and the placebo groups were 55.98 ± 8.12 and 58.75 ± 7.86 (P = 0.160) which then changed to 59.21 ± 7.98 and 60.01 ± 8.23 at the end of the 4th week and to 65.83 ± 8.81 and 60.26 ± 7.25 at the end of the 6th week, respectively. Repeated‑measures analysis showed that over time, the use of curcumin ointment could significantly increase the mean QOL score in the intervention group (P = 0.001). Conclusion: Topical administration of 5% curcumin ointment can significantly improve the QOL in older adults with KO. Therefore, this ointment might be considered a complementary therapy to improve the QOL of patients with KO.