Objective: To evaluate the efficacy of a relatively low daily dosage of Pycnogenol French maritime pine bark extract for improvement of climacteric symptoms.
Study design: In a double-blind, placebo-controlled study 170 perimenopausal women were enrolled and treated with 30 mg Pycnogenol or placebo twice daily over a period of 3 months. Climacteric symptoms were evaluated by the Women's Health Questionnaire (WHQ) and by the Kupperman index, accompanied by an investigation of sex hormones and routine blood chemistry.
Results: Seven women dropped out of each group due to noncompliance or personal reasons, but not as a result of treatment. A significant placebo effect was apparent in this study, suggesting an improvement of a majority of the WHQ categories. Compared to baseline, Pycnogenol significantly (p < 0.05) improved all symptoms with the exception of formication sensation and abnormal perceptions. Pycnogenol was found to be especially effective for improving vasomotor and insomnia/sleep problem symptoms, which were significantly better after 4 and 12 weeks than with placebo (p < 0.05). Total Kupperman's index for perimenopausal symptom severity score decreased significantly by 56% as compared to placebo (-39%) after 12 weeks of treatment (p < 0.05). Symptom score was also significantly better already after 4 weeks of treatment with Pycnogenol as compared to placebo.
Conclusion: This study, applying a relatively low daily dose, allows identification of those climacteric symptoms which respond particularly well to supplementation with Pycnogenol.