Combining oral contraceptives with a natural nuclear factor-kappa B inhibitor for the treatment of endometriosis-related pain
Hugo Maia Jr,1–3 Clarice Haddad,3 Julio Casoy3
1Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, School of Medicine, Federal University of Bahia, 2Itaigara Memorial Day Hospital, 3Centro de Pesquisas e Assistência em Reprodução Humana (CEPARH), Salvador, Bahia, Brazil
Abstract: Endometriosis is a chronic disease in which a persistent state of heightened inflammation is maintained by nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-κB) activation. The progestins present in oral contraceptives are potent inhibitors of NF-κB translocation to cell nuclei, while Pycnogenol® (Pinus pinaster) acts by blocking post-translational events. In this study, the effects of Pycnogenol on pain scores were investigated in patients with endometriosis using oral contraceptives containing either gestodene or drospirenone in extended regimens. Pain scores were determined using a visual analog scale before and after 3 months of treatment. Oral contraceptives, used alone (groups 1 and 3) or in association with Pycnogenol (groups 2 and 4), resulted in significant decreases in pain scores after 3 months of treatment; however, this reduction was significantly greater in the groups using oral contraceptives + Pycnogenol (groups 2 and 4) compared with those using oral contraceptives alone (groups 1 and 3). In the groups using oral contraceptives alone, 50% of patients became pain-free by the end of the third month of treatment. These results suggest that Pycnogenol increases the efficacy of oral contraceptives for the treatment of endometriosis-related pain.
Keywords: Pycnogenol®, aromatase, endometriosis, nuclear factor-kappa B
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