Introduction. Turmeric is the common name for the rhizome of Curcuma longa L. In
the recent years, food supplements containing turmeric have been marketed and widely
used by an increasing number of consumers. Spontaneous reports of suspected adverse
reactions to food supplements are collected within the Phytovigilance system.
Methods. An ad hoc multidisciplinary group investigated the suspected cases of hepatotoxicity reported to the Italian Phytovigilance system associated with the assumption of turmeric food supplements with the methodology specific to pharmacovigilance as well
as for the evaluation of the quality and safety of food supplements.
Results. A cluster of 28 spontaneous reports of acute hepatitis, mostly with cholestasis,
associated with turmeric products were sent to the Italian Phytovigilance system in the
first six months of 2019.
In all cases, except one, the causality assessment was at least possible. The suspected
products were collected and analysed for the presence of drugs, heavy metals, aflatoxins,
pesticides, synthetic dyes and pyrrolizidine alkaloids.
Conclusion. On the basis of the results of all the activities performed by multidisciplinary
group, regulatory intervention was taken. This study highlights the importance
of developing an integrated evaluation approach for the evaluation of the adverse effects
associated with the use of food supplements.