PABA (Para-AminoBenzoic Acid) treatment of Dupuytren’s contracture
Dupuytrens contracture can respond to therapy program that includes PABA because of its ability to assist the process of breaking down foreign protein – like in thickened scar tissue and contractures of fingers.
Para-aminobenzoic acid or PABA is a non-protein amino acid that is widely distributed in nature. Many years ago, when B-vitamins were first being researched, PABA was referred to as vitamin Bx. We now know it is neither a vitamin nor an essential nutrient for humans, since it is made in the body by beneficial bacteria in the small intestine.PABA is used in the body to incorporate protein into living tissue, as well as to reverse this process by breaking down protein. It is also used in formation of red blood cells, as well as an intermediary step in the manufacture of folic acid in the intestines. PABA also assists in maintaining the health of your intestinal flora (the beneficial bacteria found in the intestine). It has been linked to hair growth as well as reversing the graying of hair, but these results tend to be inconclusive, except when there is significant B-vitamin deficiency. People suffering from vitiligo (over-pigmentation of skin) or without pigment in some spots, have reported an improvement of their skin coloration after taking PABA supplementation. Para-aminobenzoic acid is also used in sunscreen preparations since it can help protect the skin against ultraviolet radiation. Found in liver, kidney, brewer’s yeast, molasses, whole grains, mushrooms and spinach, PABA is also made by intestinal bacteria (flora).
While most of the research done on Peyronie’s disease and Dupuytrens contracture has been conducted with potassium para-aminobenzoate (POTABA), this particular form of PABA frequently causes severe gastric distress, and for this reason it is a prescription medication.(1) The more safe and less expensive PABA can be readily gotten without a prescription, and hence it is less expensive without sacrificing effectiveness of treatment.
Dupuytrens Contracture Connection
PABA is reported to have an anti-fibrotic (anti-scar) effect in the body, and for this reason it is used to treat certain skin conditions in which fibrosis, inelasticity or thickening of the skin occurs. The reputed antifibrotic action of PABA may be due to its stimulation of increased oxygen uptake at the tissue level, which enhances the oxygen-dependent monoamine oxidase activity that in turn prevents or causes regression of tissue fibrosis.Aminobenzoate potassium is used medically to treat fibrosis, a condition in which the skin and underlying tissues tighten and become less flexible. This condition occurs in such diseases as Dupuytrens contracture, Peyronie’s disease, dermatomyositis, morphea, scleroderma, and linear scleroderma. It is also used to treat non-suppurative inflammation that occurs in such diseases as dermatomyositis, pemphigus, and again, Peyronie’s disease.
It is likely because of the suspected anti-scar quality of PABA that it is reported by many to be effective in treatment of PD. Supporting this idea, from the world literature we find reports of 2,752 cases treated with Potaba by 1996 that have shown improvement in 60% of the cases studied, with a range of improvement from 10% to 82% depending on the study, and a reported median failure rate of 40%.(2) The wide variation of success (10% to 82%) in the review is a reflection of the wide variance of the PD process, once again confirming this is a very difficult condition to study and determine success rates. There are other PD studies, using PABA alone or in combination with other therapies, all citing success in a similar range; one of the studies reported the success of 214 urologists who treated 2653 cases of PD with para-aminobenzoacidic potassium.(3-4) However, the 60% average success is a very good success rate and gives encouragement that PABA is a viable inclusion into a person’s PD treatment plan.
We recommend adding PABA to your treatment plan because there is good science to support its use in Dupuytrens contracture. PABA research is also good not only for Dupuytrens contracture and Peyronie’s disease, but for other conditions that have similar tissue fibrosis components, such as scleroderma. Again, in spite of favorable research and multiple studies showing favorable effect of PABA on Peyronie’s disease,, there is insufficient evidence to establish it as a proven treatment because there are researchers and studies that do not agree with these results. Therefore, once again, talk to your physician about adding PABA to your Dupuytrens contracture treatment plan.
Dupuytrens contracture and Peyronie’s disease connection
There are many statistical and clinical similarities between Dupuytrens contracture and Peyronie’s disease. So much so, that there is even a connection between treatment that has benefited one condition being also potentially beneficial for the other. Because of this, it is common to learn from men who are being treated with a PDI therapy program for their Peyronie’s disease that their concurrent Dupuytrens contracture is also improving.
Therefore, when one study shows that Peyronies disease is benefited by PABA, it should be of great interest to someone with Dupuytrens contracture.
PABA should not be administered to anyone taking sulfonamides or to anyone who is hypersensitive to it. PABA should be stopped if hypersensitivity develops. PABA should be used with caution in those with renal disease. If anorexia or nausea occurs, PABA should be stopped until the person is eating normally again. Those taking pharmaceutical doses of PABA must be under medical supervision.
PABA product recommendation
The PABA recommended by DCI comes from Douglas Laboratory. It is available in a 500 mg capsule simply called PABA. As we have written before, we value highly the reputation and quality for which Douglas Laboratory has been known for the last 50 years. It is a name you can trust, and we are happy to make it available for your one-source shopping.
Want to learn more technical information on this subject?
The sister organization for the Dupuytrens Contracture Institute (DCI) is the Peyronie’s Disease Institute (PDI). There are many statistical and pathophysiological similarities between these two conditions, that the same group of doctors who created PDI have also developed DCI. Many men who have Peyronie’s disease note that their Dupuytrens contracture also improves. Therefore, there appears to be a natural confluence of interest between these two problems. What can be said for one problem can be said of the other, especially in terms of treatment.
For ideas and suggestions putting DMSO and other goodies into a treatment plan, click Create a Dupuytrens Treatment Plan.
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1. Ludwig G. Evaluation of conservative therapeutic approaches to Peyronie’s disease (fibrotic induration of the penis). Urol Int. 1991;47(4):236-9. Urologische Klinik, Städtisches Krankenhaus, Frankfurt am Main-Höchst, BRD.
2. Wagenknecht LV. Differential therapies in various stages of penile induration. Arch Esp Urol. 1996 Apr;49(3):285-92.
3. Carson CC. Potassium para-aminobenzoate for the treatment of Peyronie’s disease: is it effective? Tech Urol. 1997 Fall;3(3):135-9. Division of Urology, University of North Carolina, School of Medicine, Chapel Hill 27599-7235, USA.
4. Hasche-Klunder R. Treatment of peyronie’s disease with para-aminobenzoacidic potassium (POTOBA) Urologe A. 1978 Jul;17(4):224-7. (author’s transl) [Article in German]