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Antioxidants offer pain relief in patients with chronic pancreatitis
Date:12/31/2008

Bethesda, MD (Jan. 1, 2009) Antioxidant supplementation was found to be effective in relieving pain and reducing levels of oxidative stress in patients with chronic pancreatitis (CP), reports a new study in Gastroenterology. CP is a progressive inflammatory disease of the pancreas in which patients experience abdominal pain (in early stage) and diabetes and maldigestion (in late stage). Pain is the major problem in 90 percent of patients with CP and currently, there is no effective medical therapy for pain relief. Gastroenterology is the official journal of the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) Institute.

In this placebo-controlled, double blind trial, 127 patients, ages 30.5+/-10.5, were assigned to placebo or antioxidant groups. After six months, the reduction in the number of painful days/month was significantly higher in the antioxidant group, compared with the placebo group (7.46.8 versus 3.24, respectively). The reduction in the number of analgesic tablets/month was also higher in the antioxidant group (10.511.8 versus 4.45.8, respectively). Furthermore, 32 percent and 13 percent of patients became pain free in the antioxidant and placebo groups, respectively; the beneficial effect of antioxidants on pain relief was noted early at three months.

"Abdominal pain, the predominant symptom in patients with CP, is difficult to treat. The main reason for a largely ineffective medical treatment is that the mechanism of pain in CP is not well understood," said Pramod Kumar Garg, MD, DM, of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi and lead author of the study. "We are encouraged by our findings, as significant improvement was noted with antioxidants in respect to all the parameters of pain in this study. In addition, reduction in pain resulted in fewer man-days lost, thus providing functional employment gain to the patients. The findings should spur further research in this exciting area."

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Contact: Alissa J. Cruz
media@gastro.org
301-272-1603
American Gastroenterological Association
Source:Eurekalert

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