Food and Behaviour Research

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Clinical Investigation of French Maritime Pine Bark Extract on Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder as compared to Methylphenidate and Placebo: Part 1: Efficacy in a Randomised Trial

Weyns A, Verlaet A, Breynaert A, Naessens T, Fransen E, Verhelst H, West D, Ingelghem I, Jonckheeree A, Beysen D, Kenis S, Moens E, Roest A, Savelkoul H, Bruyne T, Pieters L, Ceulemans B, Hermans N (2022) Journal of Functional Foods 97 doi:10.1016/j.jff.2022.105246 

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Abstract:

Highlights

  1. Assessing the value of French Maritime Pine Bark Extract (PBE) in ADHD therapy as compared to methylphenidate(MPH) and placebo in a 10-week randomised trial;
  2. Teachers reported significant improvement of total and hyperactivity/impulsivity ADHD-RS scores (primary outcome) by PBE and MPH after 10 weeks compared to placebo;
  3. Adverse effects reported five times more frequently for MPH than for PBE;
  4. PBE is a valuable treatment option in paediatric ADHD especially for those not willing to take standard medication or experiencing side effects.

Objectives

Determine the effect of French Maritime Pine Bark Extract (PBE; Pycnogenol®) on Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) behaviour and co-morbid physical/psychiatric symptoms, compared to placebo and the medicine MPH, and to assess its tolerability. Behaviour (measured by the ADHD-Rating Scale (ADHD-RS) and Social-Emotional Questionnaire (SEQ)) and physical complaints were evaluated in weeks 5 and 10.

Results

Eighty-eight paediatric ADHD patients (70 % male, mean age 10.1 years) were randomised to placebo (n = 30), PBE (n = 32) or MPH (n = 26). Teachers reported significant improvement of total and hyperactivity/impulsivity ADHD-RS scores by PBE and MPH after 10 weeks compared to placebo. MPH also improved inattention. SEQ ratings support ADHD-RS results. Adverse effects were reported five times more frequently for MPH than for PBE.

Conclusions

PBE appears a good alternative for MPH in paediatric ADHD and especially in the primary school environment, a fortiori when considering its almost complete lack of adverse effects.

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