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Ginkgo Biloba Extract Does Not Cut Progression to Alzheimer's

Standardized extract offers no benefit versus placebo for elderly adults with memory complaints

THURSDAY, Sept. 6 (HealthDay News) -- For elderly adults with memory complaints, use of standardized ginkgo biloba extract is no better than placebo for reducing the incidence of Alzheimer's disease, according to a study published online Sept. 6 in The Lancet Neurology.

Bruno Vellas, M.D., from the Toulouse University Hospital in France, and colleagues assessed the long-term efficacy of standardized ginkgo biloba extract for the reduction in incidence of Alzheimer's disease. A total of 2,854 adults, aged 70 years or older, with reported memory complaints, were enrolled and randomly allocated to receive standardized ginkgo biloba extract (1,406 participants) or matched placebo (1,414 participants) twice a day. Participants were followed for five years.

The researchers found that, by five years, 61 participants in the ginkgo biloba group and 73 in the placebo group had been diagnosed with probable Alzheimer's disease (1.2 versus 1.4 cases per 100 person-years; hazard ratio, 0.84; P = 0.306). There was a similar incidence of adverse events in the ginkgo biloba and placebo groups: 76 and 82 participants, respectively, died (P = 0.68) and 65 and 60 participants, respectively, had a stroke (P = 0.57). There was no significant difference in the incidence of other hemorrhagic or cardiovascular events between the groups.

"Long-term use of standardized ginkgo biloba extract in this trial did not reduce the risk of progression to Alzheimer's disease compared with placebo," the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to Ipsen, which funded the study. The editorial author disclosed financial ties to pharmaceutical companies, including Wilmar Schwabe and Ipsen, both manufacturers of ginkgo biloba extract.

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