Aim: The aim of the study was the evaluation of supplementation with Pycnogenol®, French maritime pine bark extract (registered trademark of Horphag Research Ltd.) to improve the effects of the management of psoriasis and reduce the need for treatments.
Methods: Patients (age range 30-45) with moderate/severe plaque psoriasis were included in a 12-week registry study that did not interfere with 'standard management'. The minimum Psoriasis Area Severity Index (PASI) score at inclusion was 10. Subjects with 10-29% (grade 2) and 30-49% (grade 3) of involved area were included. Oxidative stress (plasma free radicals) was measured. Patient-reported measures included the Dermatology Life Quality Index (DLQI). The supplement was used at a dosage of 150 mg/day (50 mg three times daily).
Results: The two registry groups (standard management and standard management+supplementation) were comparable. Dropouts were due to logistical problems. Single PASI items were evaluated: a decrease in the affected body area in boths groups was observed. The decrease in affected areas was more pronounced in the Pycnogenol group in all body regions. The severity score (erythema, induration, desquamation) improved more significantly with Pycnogenol. Considering the water content of skin in all areas, the increase was higher with Pycnogenol. The quantity of exfoliating cells (score from -5 to +5) was significantly reduced in both groups, with a better action using Pycnogenol. Skin moisture improved with treatment in all subjects, with better effects using Pycnogenol. Using a modified (12 items) DLQI indicating how much psoriasis had affected the patient's life in the previous week, Pycnogenol-supplemented subjects performed better for each single parameter in comparison with standard management. Improvement in the treatment time (-32% in comparison with standard management) and costs (decreased on average 36.4% in comparison with standard management) were observed in the supplement group. A decrease in consumption of other drugs was observed with the supplement. Oxidative stress was significantly lower in the supplement group at 12 weeks.
Conclusion: These results indicate the efficacy of Pycnogenol supplementation in improving control of the most common clinical aspects of psoriasis and in reducing oxidative stress. Further studies may indicate the possible systemic or local use of Pycnogenol and its role in controlling side effects and costs of standard management.