French maritime pine bark extract significantly lowers the requirement for analgesic medication in dysmenorrhea [painful menstruation]: A multicenter, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study – Source: The Journal of Reproductive Medicine, May 2008

Objective: A previous open study demonstrated that French maritime pine bark extract (PycnogenolR) may soothe menstrual pain in dysmenorrhea.

We thus investigated the effects of PycnogenolR on menstrual pain in a double-blind study.

Study Design: Subjects were 116 women aged 18-48 years. The first 2 menstrual cycles served as a control period; during the subsequent 2 menstrual cycles women received either a Pycnogenol supplement (60 mg/day) or a placebo in identical capsule form. One further cycle was monitored after cessation of capsule administration.

Women were assigned to either a group with low menstrual pain or a group with dysmenorrhea. The criterion for assignment to the first group was absence of analgesic [pain relieving] medication.

Results: In women with low menstrual pain, no significant difference for lowering of pain scores was found. In contrast, women with dysmenorrhea:

  • Had a significantly lower pain score
  • And required statistically significantly less analgesic medication during supplementation with PycnogenolR.
  • The number of days women required analgesic medication was likewise found to be statistically significantly lowered in the PycnogenolR group.
  • Even after discontinuation of PycnogenolR supplementation, the required analgesic medication remained significantly decreased.

  • Conclusion: The analgesic-sparing effect of PycnogenolR increases with duration of supplementation and benefits persist even after discontinuation.

    Source: The Journal of Reproductive Medicine. May 2008;53(5):338-46. PMID: 18567279, by Suzuki N, Uebaba K, Kohama T, Moniwa N, Kanayama N, Koike K. Department of Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Graduate School of Medical Science, Kanazawa University, Kanazawa, Ishikawa, Japan. [E-mail:]

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