AHPA Responds to JAMA Study on Ginkgo, Dementia Prevention

A study published in the Nov. 19 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association finds Ginkgo biloba extract ineffective for the primary prevention of dementia. However, as the authors note, “there are no medications approved for primary prevention of dementia.”

The randomized, double-blind Ginkgo Evaluation of Memory (GEM) trial followed 3,069 individuals assigned to either placebo or 120 mg twice-daily ginkgo extract (Schwabe’s EGb 761®). Out of the 1,545 individuals receiving ginkgo, 1,289 were seniors with normal cognition and 256 of the volunteers aged 75 and over had mild cognitive impairment (MCI).

“The study does not in any way undermine what has already been observed with regard to the usefulness of ginkgo extract, and EGb 761 in particular, in providing symptomatic relief in persons who already suffer from dementia or Alzheimer’s disease,” said American Herbal Products Association President Michael McGuffin. “In fact, Ginkgo extract has been shown to work as well as the available approved drugs to slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.”

The JAMA study is available here: http://jama.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/full/300/19/2253

Additional References

Mazza, M. Gingko biloba and donepezil: a comparison in the treatment of Alzheimer’s dementia in a randomized placebo-controlled double blind study. Eur J Neurol. 2006;13(9):981-5

Wettstein, A. Cholinesterase inhibitors and Ginkgo extracts—are they comparable in the treatment of dementia? Comparison of published placebo-controlled efficacy studies of at lease six months’ duration. Phytomedicine. 2000;6(6):393-401

The American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) is the only national trade association devoted to herbal issues. Representing the core of the botanical trade—comprised of the finest growers, processors, manufacturers and marketers of herbal products—our mission is to promote the responsible commerce of herbal products. AHPA committees generate self-regulations to ensure the highest level of quality with respect to the way herbal products are manufactured, labeled, and sold. Website: www.ahpa.org.

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