The aim of this preliminary evaluation was to study the efficacy of Pycnogenol in improving cochlear flow in patients with mild-to-moderate tinnitus present for at least two weeks (without vertigo or important hearing loss), possibly associated with cochlear hypo-perfusion.
Patients with mild-to-moderate, idiopatic, monolateral tinnitus present for at least 2 weeks were included; no vertigo or important hearing loss had been found in a specific examination. The origin of tinnitus had been sudden (hours or days). Fifty-eight patients used Pycnogenol: 24 used 150 mg/day (group A; mean age 43.2+/-4.3) and 34 patients 100 mg/day (group B: mean age 42.4+/-3.8). Controls included 24 patients (mean age 42.3+/-4.5). The groups were comparable for their clinical problem and age and sex. The average duration of treatment was 34.3+/-3.1 days. No side effects were observed and no drop-outs occurred.
The variations in cochlear flow velocity (in cm/s at the cochlear artery), at inclusion and after four weeks of treatment indicated that flow velocity at the level of the affected ear was significantly lower (both the diastolic and systolic components; P<0.05) in comparison with the other ear. The treatment favored an improvement in systolic (P<0.05) and diastolic flow velocity (P<0.05) in the two treatment groups A+B. The increase in flow velocity was very limited and not significant in controls.
These results suggest that in selected patients with tinnitus and altered perfusion, Pycnogenol is effective in a short period of time in relieving tinnitus symptoms by improving cochlear blood flow. The effect is more pronounced with higher Pycnogenol dosage. More studies should be planned to better evaluate the pathology and potential applications of Pycnogenol in a larger number of patients who are currently without a real therapeutic solution.