OsteoarthritisPine Bark Extract

Treating osteoarthritis with pycnogenol

Pycnogenol is a scavenger of oxygen free radicals. Here’s the latest in a series of positive studies.

First, the details.

  • 156 people with osteoarthritis were assigned (not randomly) to take 100 mg pycnogenol capsules daily or placebo for 3 months.
  • Symptoms were evaluated using WOMAC scores (for pain and stiffness), and mobility.
  • Neither the patients nor the researchers knew the treatment given (blinded).
  • Both groups were similar for age, gender, WOMAC scores, walking distances, and use of anti-inflammatory drugs.

And, the results.

  • Walking distance on the treadmill was significantly longer with pycnogenol — from 68 m at the start to 198 m after 3 months treatment.
    • There was no improvement in the placebo group.
  • Drugs use with pycnogenol decreased significantly by 58% vs 1% with placebo.
  • Gastrointestinal complications decreased by 63% with pycnogenol vs 3% with placebo.
  • Overall treatment costs were reduced significantly with pycnogenol vs placebo.
  • Foot edema decreased in 79% of pycnogenol patients vs 1% with placebo.

The bottom line?
Aside from the obvious positive results, another thing strikes me about pycnogenol after about 2 years of blogging on CAM.

The supporters of pycnogenol have embarked on an ambitious program of research that has resulted in a series of positive articles. Some are summarized here.

Eight years ago, I wrote jokingly about the politics of pycnogenol. I said, “We await the supporting clinical trial results.”

Now, the support is being published. We look forward to confirmatory studies.

4/4/08 22:05 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at www.Vicus.com, a complementary and alternative medicine website.