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 ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2008  |  Volume : 74  |  Issue : 5  |  Page : 447--452

Evening primrose oil is effective in atopic dermatitis: A randomized placebo-controlled trial


Department of Dermatology, Calcutta National Medical College, Kolkata, India

Correspondence Address:
Sabyasachi Banerjee
3/1, Haridas Ghosh Road, P.O. Naihati, Dist. 24 Parganas (N)-743 165
India
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DOI: 10.4103/0378-6323.42645

PMID: 19052401

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Background: Atopic dermatitis (AD) is a chronic, relapsing, itchy dermatosis of multifactorial origin, which commonly starts in childhood. Defective metabolism of essential fatty acids leading to relative dominance of pro-inflammatory prostaglandins (PGE 2 and PGF 2 ) has been reported as an important factor in the pathogenesis of AD. Evening primrose oil (EPO) as a source of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) has been of interest in the management of AD. Aim: To evaluate the efficacy and safety of EPO in atopic dermatitis in our patients. Methods: Consecutive new out-patient department (OPD) patients of a referral hospital in Kolkata clinically diagnosed as having AD were randomly allocated to two groups. To the first group, evening primrose oil was supplied as 500-mg oval clear unmarked capsules, while placebo capsules identical in appearance and containing 300 mg of sunflower oil were given to the other group. Treatment continued for a period of 5 months. With pre-designed scoring system (based on four major parameters: extent, intensity, itching, and dryness), clinical evaluation was done at baseline and subsequent monthly visits. Data of the first 25 patients from each group who completed the 5 months of trial were compiled and analyzed. Results: At the end of the fifth month, 24 (96%) patients of EPO group and 8 (32%) patients of placebo group showed improvement. There was significant difference in outcome of treatment between two groups (P < 0.00001). No significant adverse effect was reported by any patient/guardian at any point of assessment. Conclusion: Evening primrose oil is a safe and effective medicine in management of AD. However, since not all researchers across the world have found the same good result, further large trials on Indian patients are needed.






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