Objective: The safe and efficacious use of Pycnogenol (French maritime pine bark extract) in other inflammatory diseases prompted this study of its antiinflammatory effects in patients with osteoarthritis (OA). The aim of the study was to evaluate whether Pycnogenol reduces the symptoms of OA in a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomly allocated trial with patients suffering from knee osteoarthritis stages I and II.
Methods: 100 patients were treated for 3 months either by 150 mg Pycnogenol per day at meals or by placebo. Patients had to report any change of use of previously prescribed antiinflammatory medication during the study period. Patients filled the Western Ontario and Mc Masters University (WOMAC) questionnaire for osteoarthritis every 2 weeks and evaluated weekly pain symptoms using a visual analogue scale for pain intensity.
Results: Following treatment with Pycnogenol patients reported an improvement of WOMAC index (p < 0.05), and a significant alleviation of pain by visual analogue scale (p < 0.04), the placebo had no effect. The use of analgesics diminished in the verum group but increased under the placebo. Treatment with Pycnogenol was well tolerated.
Conclusion: Results show that Pycnogenol in patients with mild to moderate OA improves symptoms and is able to spare NSAIDs.