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The effect of pycnogenol on patients with dysmenorrhea using low-dose oral contraceptives

Authors Maia Jr H, Haddad C, Casoy J

Received 4 October 2014

Accepted for publication 30 October 2014

Published 11 December 2014 Volume 2014:6 Pages 1019—1022

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/IJWH.S75389

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 4

Editor who approved publication: Professor Elie Al-Chaer


Hugo Maia Jr, Clarice Haddad, Julio Casoy

Centro de Pesquisa e Assistência em Reprodução Humana (CEPARH), Salvador, Bahia, Brazil

Objective: Menstrual symptoms such as dysmenorrhea usually occur during the hormone-free interval in oral contraceptive users. Progestin withdrawal activates NF-κB transcription factor, which upregulates both vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and Cox-2 expression in the endometrium. The use of natural NF-κB inhibitors such as pycnogenol may block this response, improving dysmenorrhea.
Patients and methods: Twenty-four patients with severe dysmenorrhea were allocated to one of two treatment groups. In Group A (n=13), women were treated with an oral contraceptive containing 15 µg of ethinyl estradiol and 60 mg of gestodene (Adoless®) in a 24/4 regimen for three consecutive cycles. Women in Group B (n=11) used the same contraceptive regimen together with 100 mg of pycnogenol (Flebon®) continuously for 3 months. Pain scores were graded using a visual analog scale (VAS) before and during the hormone-free interval at the end of the third treatment cycle.
Results: Before treatment, VAS pain scores for dysmenorrhea were 8 and 9 in Groups A and B, respectively. However, by the end of the third treatment cycle, pain scores had decreased significantly (P<0.05) both in groups A and B. The final pain scores were 6 in Group A and 2 in Group B, a difference that was statistically significant (P<0.0001). In Group B, 27% of the patients became pain-free, while in Group A, none of the women reported complete disappearance of this symptom. The number of bleeding days was also lower in Group B.
Discussion: Pycnogenol effectively decreased pain scores and the number of bleeding days when administered concomitantly with a low-dose 24/4 oral contraceptive containing gestodene.

Keywords: gestodene, hormone-free interval, pain

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