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Patients with chronic pancreatitis (CP) given antioxidant supplements benefit from a reduction in pain and lower levels of oxidative stress, a new study has revealed.
CP is a progressive inflammatory disease of the pancreas in which patients in the early stage of the disease suffer from abdominal pain, while those in the late stage develop diabetes and maldigestion.
The major problem in 90% of patients with CP is pain and there is currently no effective medical therapy for pain relief.
The study, which has been reported in the journal Gastroenterology, looked at 127 patients who were given either antioxidants or a placebo.
After six months, the reduction in the number of painful days was significantly higher in the antioxidant group, compared with the placebo group.
The reduction in the number of analgesic tablets taken over the period was also higher in the antioxidant group and 32% of patients in the antioxidant group became pain-free compared with 13% of those given a placebo.
Lead researcher Pramod Kumar Garg of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi, said: “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.
“We are encouraged by our findings (which) should spur further research in this exciting area.”
Copyright Press Association 2009