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Comparative evaluation of the pain-relieving properties of a lecithinized formulation of curcumin (Meriva®), nimesulide, and acetaminophen

Authors Di Pierro F, Rapacioli G, Di Maio EA, Appendino G, Franceschi F, Togni S

Received 30 December 2012

Accepted for publication 14 February 2013

Published 8 March 2013 Volume 2013:6 Pages 201—205


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 3

Francesco Di Pierro,1 Giuliana Rapacioli,2 Eleonora Adriana Di Maio,3 Giovanni Appendino,4 Federico Franceschi,5 Stefano Togni5

1Velleja Research, 2Associazione Italiana Omeopatia di Risonanza, 3Presidio Ospedaliero Riunito Ciriè-Lanzo, 4Università degli Studi del Piemonte Orientale, 5Indena SpA, Milan, Italy

Abstract: In addition to its anti-inflammatory activity, Meriva®, a proprietary lecithin formulation of curcumin, has been anecdotally reported to decrease acute pain in patients with various chronic diseases. Given that curcumin can desensitize transient receptor potential A1, a nociceptor seemingly also mediating the analgesic effect of acetaminophen, as well as inhibiting and downregulating the expression of cyclo-oxygenase 2, the selective target of nimesulide, a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agent, we carried out a pilot comparative study of the acute pain-relieving properties of these three agents. At a dose of 2 g (corresponding to 400 mg of curcumin), Meriva showed clear analgesic activity, comparable with that of a standard dose (1 g) of acetaminophen, but lower than that of a therapeutic (100 mg) dose of nimesulide. The analgesic activity of lower (1.5 g) doses of Meriva was less satisfactory, and the onset of activity was longer than that of nimesulide for both doses. On the other hand, gastric tolerability was significantly better than that of nimesulide and comparable with that of acetaminophen. Taken together, our results show that the preclinical analgesic properties of curcumin have clinical relevance, at least at a dose of 2 g as the Meriva formulation. While this dose is significantly higher than that used to relieve chronic inflammatory conditions (1–1.2 g/day), its pain-relieving activity could benefit from the general downregulation of the inflammatory response induced by curcumin, considering that the transient receptor potential channel-mediated mechanisms of analgesia are magnified by attenuation of inflammation. In patients on treatment with Meriva, this would also translate into better control of acute pain, providing a rationale for the analgesic properties associated with this curcumin formulation.

Keywords: curcumin phytosome, Meriva®, acute pain, acetaminophen, nimesulide, tolerability

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