This study evaluated the effects of Pycnogenol as an adjunct to angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE)-inhibitor ramipril treatment of hypertensive patients presenting with early signs of renal function problems. One group of 26 patients was medicated with 10 mg ramipril per day only; a second group of 29 patients took Pycnogenol in addition to the ACE inhibitor over a period of 6 months. At trial end, a lowered systolic and diastolic blood pressure was found in both groups, with a significant further reduction of diastolic pressure in the group given Pycnogenol in addition to ramipril. The major aim of this study was the investigation of kidney-protective effects of Pycnogenol. Urinary albumin decreased from 87 +/- 23 to 64 +/- 16 mg/d with ramipril only. Additional Pycnogenol lowered albumin significantly better from 91 +/- 25 to 39 +/- 13 mg/day (P < .05). In both groups, serum creatinine was lowered; however, only in the combination treatment group did the effect reached statistical significance. In both groups, CRP levels decreased from 2.1 to 1.8 with ramipril and from 2.2 to 1.1 with the ramipril-Pycnogenol combination; the latter reached statistical significance. Kidney cortical flow velocity was investigated by Doppler color duplex ultrasonography. Both systolic and diastolic flow velocities increased significantly after 6 months medication with ramipril. The addition of Pycnogenol to the regimen statistically significantly further enhanced kidney cortical flow velocities, by 8% for diastolic flow and 12% for systolic flow, relative to values found for the group taking ramipril only. The protective effects of Pycnogenol for initial kidney damage found in this study warrant further research with a larger number of patients and over a longer period of time.
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