Ginkgo biloba does not improve cognitive function in MS A randomized placebo-controlled trial

Jesus F. Lovera, Edward Kim, Elizabeth Heriza, Mary Fitzpatrick, James Hunziker, Aaron P. Turner, Joshua Adams, Thomas Stover, Adam Sangeorzan, Alicia Sloan, Diane Howieson, Katherine Wild, Jodie Haselkorn, Dennis Bourdette

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


Objective: To determine whether Ginkgo biloba extract (ginkgo) improves cognitive function in persons with multiple sclerosis (MS). Methods: Persons with MS from the Seattle and Portland VA clinics and adjacent communities who scored 1 SD or more below the mean on one of 4 neuropsychological tests (Stroop Test, California Verbal Learning Test II [CVLT-II], Controlled Oral Word Association Test [COWAT], and Paced Auditory Serial Addition Task [PASAT]) were randomly assigned to receive either one 120-mg tablet of ginkgo (EGb-761; Willmar Schwabe GmbH and Co, Germany) or one placebo tablet twice a day for 12 weeks. As the primary outcome, we compared the performance of the 2 groups on the 4 tests at exit after adjusting for baseline performance. Results: Fifty-nine subjects received placebo and 61 received ginkgo; 1 participant receiving placebo and 3 receiving ginkgo were lost to follow-up. Two serious adverse events (AEs) (myocardial infarction and severe depression) believed to be unrelated to the treatment occurred in the ginkgo group; otherwise, there were no significant differences in AEs. The differences (ginkgo-placebo) at exit in the z scores for the cognitive tests were as follows: PASAT -0.2 (95% confidence interval [CI]-0.5 to 0.1); Stroop Test-0.5 (95% CI-0.9 to-0.1); COWAT 0.0 (95% CI-0.2 to 0.3); and CVLT-II 0.0 (95% CI -0.3 to 0.3); none was statistically significant. Conclusions: Treatment with ginkgo 120 mg twice a day did not improve cognitive performance in persons with MS. Classification of evidence: This study provides Class I evidence that treatment with ginkgo 120 mg twice a day for 12 weeks does not improve cognitive performance in people with MS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1278-1284
Number of pages7
Issue number12
StatePublished - Sep 18 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology


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