Ginkgo Extract Efficacious for Alzheimer's/Dementia Within 26 Weeks

August 03, 2000

New York (MedscapeWire) Aug 3 — New analysis of the breakthrough study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association ( JAMA) shows that a patented Ginkgo biloba extract, EGb 761, effectively improves the mental function of patients with Alzheimer's disease and multi-infarct dementia within the first 26 weeks of treatment.

In a double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel group, multicenter study, changes in the cognitive function, daily living, and social behavior of 309 patients were evaluated using the Alzheimer's Disease Assessment Scale-Cognitive Subscale (ADAS-Cog), Geriatric Evaluation by Relative's Rating Instrument (GERRI), and Clinical Global Impression of Change (CGIC). The 26-week results of the intent-to-treat analysis was published in the July/August issue of Dementia and Geriatric Cognitive Disorders.

Study participants receiving 120 mg per day of EGb 761 exhibited clinically relevant improvement in ADAS-Cog and GERRI evaluations, but the placebo group showed significant worsening in these 2 areas of assessment. Regarding safety, no differences between the 2 groups were observed.

Specifically, 26% of the patients in the EGb 761 group achieved at least a 4-point improvement in the ADAS-Cog and 30% improved on the GERRI. The study states: "Comparison of the current results with those reported in a German study testing a higher dose of EGb might suggest that an increased EGb dose would result in an even more favorable treatment effect. After a similar treatment duration...240 mg EGb showed...a higher percentage of improved patients, i.e. 38% of the EGb group reached the highest cutoff point on the cognitive scale versus 26% in the current study."

Study coauthor Dr. Meinhard Kieser commented, "Previous US research comparing [EGb 761] against other extracts, showed that only [EGb 761] increased activity in all areas of the brain. As pointed out in this present publication, researchers attribute the activity spectrum of EGb761 to the synergistic effects of multiple constituents of the total extract. Other Ginkgo extracts do not have the same composition as EGb761 and the results of this and other studies cannot be extrapolated to any other Ginkgo extract."

Dementia Geriatr Cog Disord. 2000;11:230-237

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