Ginkgo biloba and donepezil: a comparison in the treatment of Alzheimer's dementia in a randomized placebo-controlled double-blind study.
Eur J Neurol. 2006 Sep;13(9):981-5. PMID: 16930364
Department of Psychiatry, Catholic University of Sacred Heart, Rome, Italy. email@example.com
The Ginkgo biloba special extract EGb 761 seems to produce neuroprotective effects in neurodegenerative diseases of multifactorial origin. There is still debate about the efficacy of Ginkgo biloba special extract EGb 761 compared with second-generation cholinesterase inhibitors in the treatment of mild to moderate Alzheimer's dementia. Our aim is to assess the efficacy of the Ginkgo biloba special extract E.S. in patients with dementia of the Alzheimer type in slowing down the disease's degenerative progression and the patients' cognitive impairment compared with donepezil and placebo. The trial was designed as a 24-week randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind study. Patients aged 50-80 years, suffering from mild to moderate dementia, were allocated into one of the three treatments: Ginkgo biloba (160 mg daily dose), donepezil (5 mg daily dose), or placebo group. The degree of severity of dementia was assessed by the Syndrom Kurz test and the Mini-Mental State Examination. Clinical Global Impression score was recorded to assess the change in the patients' conditions and the therapeutic efficacy of tested medications. Our results confirm the clinical efficacy of Ginkgo biloba E.S. (Flavogin) in the dementia of the Alzheimer type, comparable with donepezil clinical efficacy. There are few published trials that have directly compared a cholinesterase inhibitor with Ginkgo for dementia. This study directly compares a cholinesterase inhibitor with Ginkgo biloba for dementia of the Alzheimer type and could be a valid contribution in this debate. Our study suggests that there is no evidence of relevant differences in the efficacy of EGb 761 and donepezil in the treatment of mild to moderate Alzheimer's dementia, so the use of both substances can be justified. In addition, this study contributes to establish the efficacy and tolerability of the Ginkgo biloba special extract E.S. in the dementia of the Alzheimer type with special respect to moderately severe stages.