Efficacy of gamma-linolenic acid in the treatment of patients with atopic dermatitis


J Int Med Res. – 1997 Sep-Oct;25(5):266-74. Andreassi M, Forleo P, Di Lorio A, Masci S, Abate G, Amerio P. Department of Dermatology, University of Chieti, Italy


Of 60 patients with atopic dermatitis (30 males and 30 females, 15-30 years old) 30 were treated with gamma-linolenic acid of (C18:3 n-6) at a dosage of 274 mg twice a day; the other 30 patients were given placebo. The patients were treated for 12 weeks, during which their symptoms were assessed on a linear scale both by a dermatologist and by themselves every 4 weeks. The patients who received gamma-linolenic acid, showed gradual improvements in pruritus, erythema, vesiculation and oozing, which were statistically significant compared with the control group (P < 0.001). Only one patient had presented with scaling at the beginning of the study and this symptom appeared to be less influenced by the effects of gamma-linolenic acid. The assessments of symptoms made by the dermatologist were generally consistent with those made by the patients themselves. gamma-linolenic acid was found to be effective and without side-effects for the treatment of atopic dermatitis.