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Gingko Biloba May Not Prevent Cardiovascular Disease

Study of G. biloba and placebo finds no difference in incidence of death, heart attack or angina

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 25 (HealthDay News) -- Twice daily doses of Gingko biloba did not show any benefit over placebo in preventing cardiovascular disease (CVD) events among elderly subjects in a study published online Nov. 24 in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes.

Lewis H. Kuller, M.D., of the University of Pittsburgh, and colleagues randomized 3,069 subjects over 75 years of age to take either 120 mg of G. biloba twice daily or placebo. The group was followed for a mean of 6.1 years for the incidence of CVD, and differences between the G. biloba and placebo groups were evaluated using Cox proportional hazards regression.

Eighty-seven deaths from coronary heart disease occurred in follow-up, but the researchers discerned no difference between the G. biloba and placebo groups. Similarly, no differences were found between G. biloba and placebo for myocardial infarction (164 incidents), angina pectoris (207 incidents), or stroke (151 incidents). The researchers found that there were 16 hemorrhagic strokes among the subjects taking G. biloba and eight taking placebo, a difference not regarded as significant. However, there were significantly more peripheral vascular disease events in the placebo group (23) than in the G. biloba group (12).

"There was no evidence that G. biloba reduced total or CVD mortality or CVD events. There were more peripheral vascular disease events in the placebo arm. G. biloba cannot be recommended for preventing CVD. Further clinical trials of peripheral vascular disease outcomes might be indicated," the authors conclude.

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