What is Pycnogenol® used for?
Pycnogenol®, or French maritime pine bark extract, is a nutritional herbal supplement that has been touted to have immune system boosting and antioxidant effects. The active constituents include a blend of procyanidins, bioflavonoids, and phenolic acids, each of which contributes to the health benefits of Pycnogenol®. It is considered safe as it has been clinically researched for decades and can be found as an ingredient in various medications.
Pycnogenol® is commonly used to:
- Promote heart and circulatory health
- Prevent and reduce inflammation
- Boost beauty and skin vitality
- Fight against aging and free radical damage
- Improve male fertility
- Ease premenstrual syndrome (PMS) symptoms or dysmenorrhea
- Lower blood glucose levels
How should I take Pycnogenol®?
Pycnogenol® is available as an ingredient in many different medications. Locally, it is available in oral capsule form. Do not crush or chew the capsule. It can be taken with or without meals.
How do I store Pycnogenol®?
This drug should be stored at room temperature (<30°C) and be protected from light and moisture. Do not allow this product to freeze. Always check the label before using this product. For safety, keep out of the reach of children and pets.
Do not use if the printed expiration date has passed, the product seal has been broken, or the product has changed in color, odor, or consistency.
Do not dispose of this product by pouring it down the drain, toilet, or into the environment. Ask your pharmacist regarding the proper way and location of disposal.
Precautions & Warnings
What should I know before using Pycnogenol®?
Herbal supplements, including Pycnogenol®, are generally safe to take in moderate amounts as directed by a health professional. However, because most herb and food supplements are not approved by the FDA for treating and preventing specific diseases, recommended daily values are not always established.
Despite being advertised as “all-natural” or “totally safe,” natural or food supplements must be treated as conventional medication. Certain herbal preparations can interact with other medications you are taking, increasing the risk of adverse drug reactions and toxicity.
Before using this medication, inform your doctor if:
- You have ever had an allergic reaction to Pycnogenol® or other supplements.
- You have a history of allergy to other medications, food, or other substances.
- You are taking other medications.
- You have underlying health conditions.
Is it safe during pregnancy or breastfeeding?
There is insufficient data regarding the use and safety of this supplement during pregnancy. As a general precaution, do not take Pycnogenol® during the first trimester. This drug should be used during pregnancy only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus, as determined by your doctor.
This drug may be excreted in breast milk. This drug should be used while breastfeeding only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the child, as determined by your doctor.
What side effects can occur from Pycnogenol®?
All drugs have the potential to elicit side effects even with normal use. Many side effects are dose-related and will resolve when it is adjusted or at the end of therapy.
Potential side effects while using this drug include:
- Gastrointestinal discomfort
- Nausea and diarrhea
- Acne (in patients with PMS or dysmenorrhea)
- Dysfunctional bleeding (in patients with PMS or dysmenorrhea)
You may experience some, none, or other side effects not mentioned above. If you have any concerns about a side effect or it becomes bothersome, consult your doctor or pharmacist.
What drugs may interact with Pycnogenol®?
Despite being well-tolerated and considered safe to use, this drug may interact with other medications. To avoid any potential drug interactions, you should keep a list of all the drugs you are using (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products) and inform your doctor and pharmacist.
If you experience an adverse drug interaction, stop taking this drug and continue taking your other medication. Inform your doctor immediately to reevaluate your treatment plan. Your dose may need to be adjusted, substituted with another drug, or discontinue using the drug.
Does food or alcohol interact with Pycnogenol®?
This medication can be taken with or without food. If you experience any gastrointestinal discomfort, taking this medication with meals may prevent this symptom. There is no data available regarding the effects of alcohol consumption while taking this medication.
Inform your doctor or pharmacist if you have any concerns regarding food-drug interactions.
What health conditions may interact with Pycnogenol®?
This drug should be taken with caution if you have any of the following conditions or risk factors:
- Allergy to any of the ingredients
Inform your doctor or pharmacist if you have any concerns regarding specific health conditions.
The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. You should ALWAYS consult your doctor or pharmacist before using Pycnogenol®.
What is the dose of Pycnogenol® for an adult?
As an antioxidant
- Take at least 20 mg per day
For cardiovascular health
- For prevention: take 25 mg per day
- For hypertension and impaired blood circulation: take 50 to 100 mg per day
For anti-inflammatory effects
- Take at least 30 mg per day
For treating edema
- Take 50 mg per day, up to 100 to 150 mg per day for advanced stages of the disease
For blood glucose control in diabetes mellitus
- Take 50 mg once or twice a day
For PMS or dysmenorrhea
- Take 30 mg once or twice a day
For osteoarthritis or asthma
- Take 100 mg per day.
What is the dose of Pycnogenol® for a child?
This drug is not recommended for use in children and the recommended dose has not been established. Consult with a doctor or pharmacist for alternatives and more information.
How is Pycnogenol® available?
This drug is available in the following brands, dosage forms, and strengths:
- Puritan’s Pride 30 mg oral capsules
- Now Foods 30 mg oral capsules
- Health Thru Nutrition 50 mg oral capsules
What should I do in case of an emergency or overdose?
In case of an emergency or an overdose, call your local emergency services or go to your nearest emergency room.
What should I do if I miss a dose?
If you miss a dose of this drug, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and take your regular dose as scheduled. Do not take a double dose.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.