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Vinpocetine

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Related terms
Background
Evidencetable
Tradition
Dosing
Safety
Interactions
Attribution
Bibliography

Related Terms
  • 14-Ethoxycarbonyl-(3alpha,16alpha-ethyl)-14,15-eburnamine, apovincaminic acid, Cavinton®, cezayirmeneksesi (Turkish), Crioceras longiflorus, ethyl apovincaminate, Eusenium®, Intelectol®, kavinton, myrtle vincapervinc, periwinkle, RGH-4405, TCV-3b, Vinca minor, vinRx, vintoperol, Voacanga africana.
  • Note: Vincamine is a compound found in periwinkle. It is not covered in this summary.

Background
  • Vinpocetine is a synthetic compound discovered during the late 1960s that is derived from chemicals found in periwinkle (Vinca minor) leaves. In 1978, vinpocetine was first introduced into clinical practice as Cavinton®. It has since been approved for sale in countries around the world. It is sold as a drug in Europe and as a dietary supplement in the United States.
  • Vinpocetine has become popular for its protective effects on the nervous system. It has also been used to maintain and improve brain health and has been marketed as a memory-boosting supplement to improve attention, alertness, and cognition.
  • Research in humans suggests that vinpocetine may be useful for treating brain disorders, hearing impairment, memory, eye disorders, kidney impairment, stroke, and uncontrolled urination. However, other initial research has suggested that it lacks any obvious treatment benefit in Alzheimer's disease. Further high-quality research is needed in these areas to confirm results.

Evidence Table

These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. GRADE *


According to early research, vinpocetine has shown some beneficial effects in people with brain-related disorders. Further research in this area is needed to confirm findings.

B


Research reviews suggest that vinpocetine may be useful for the treatment of various mental conditions that display distinct physical symptoms. Such conditions include dementia and those caused by a disordered blood supply to the brain or dysfunctional energy metabolism. However, findings in this area are not conclusive at present. Large-scale research conducted in people with well-defined types of cognitive impairment is needed in this area.

B


Limited research suggests that vinpocetine may be useful for improving bladder control and managing uncontrolled urination. Further research in this area is warranted.

C


Early research suggests that vinpocetine may be useful in treating radiation-induced encephalopathy (brain disease or damage). Further research in this area is needed.

C


Some research suggests vinpocetine may be useful in treating eye disorders that impair vision, including macular degeneration. Macular degeneration is an eye condition in which cells in the center of the retina deteriorate and result in blurred vision. Further research in this area is needed.

C


Limited evidence suggests vinpocetine may improve hearing and relieve tinnitus (ringing in the ears). Further high-quality research in this area is needed to confirm results.

C


Limited research suggests vinpocetine may be effective in filtering excess calcium deposits in people with kidney failure. Further research is needed in this area.

C


Early research suggests vinpocetine may be effective for improving memory. Further research in this area is needed before any conclusions may be made.

C


Mixed findings have been reported regarding the use of vinpocetine in people with stroke. According to some reviews, it has been shown to improve symptoms and quality of life. Although this is promising, positive findings are not consistent between studies. Further high-quality research is needed in this area before any firm conclusions may be made.

C


In people with Alzheimer's disease, vinpocetine lacked any beneficial effects for improving symptoms and slowing disease progression. Further research is needed to confirm these findings.

D
* Key to grades

A: Strong scientific evidence for this use
B: Good scientific evidence for this use
C: Unclear scientific evidence for this use
D: Fair scientific evidence for this use (it may not work)
F: Strong scientific evidence against this use (it likley does not work)


Tradition / Theory

The below uses are based on tradition, scientific theories, or limited research. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. There may be other proposed uses that are not listed below.

  • Antioxidant, astringent (reducing bleeding by contracting tissue), bleeding gums, blood thinner, blood vessel dilation (widening of blood vessels), cognitive disorders, depression, energy booster, energy metabolism (brain), erectile dysfunction, excessive menstrual bleeding, genital disorders, hypoxia (reduced oxygen supply), immune function, increased cerebral blood flow, menopausal disorders, motion sickness, mouth sores, nervous system disorders (central pontine myelinolysis), retinopathy (damage to the retina of the eye), seizures, ulcer, wound healing (keloid scars).

Dosing

Adults (18 years and older)

  • Food is believed to increase vinpocetine absorption and minimize the risk of stomach upset.
  • For central nervous system disorders, 10 milligrams of vinpocetine for 30 days, followed by five milligrams for 60 days, has been taken by mouth. In addition, 5, 10, or 20 milligrams of vinpocetine has been taken by mouth three times daily for 12 weeks. For decreased blood supply to the brain, 60 milligrams of vinpocetine taken daily by mouth is commonly used.
  • For eye disorders, 10 milligrams of vinpocetine has been taken by mouth three times daily for two months.
  • For memory, 10, 20, or 40 milligrams of vinpocetine has been taken by mouth three times daily for two days.
  • For mind and body conditions, 5-20 milligrams of vinpocetine has been taken by mouth three times daily for periods of 12 weeks, 16 weeks, or one year.
  • For stroke, 20 milligrams of vinpocetine (Run Tan®) has been injected into veins for 14 days, as an adjunct to routine therapy. Additionally, 20 milligrams of vinpocetine infused with 500 milliliters of saline has been injected as a single dose. A similar infusion has also been injected into veins over 60 minutes, followed by 10 milligrams of vinpocetine taken by mouth three times daily for three months. Vinpocetine and 200 milliliters of dextran have been injected in to veins over one hour, daily for three weeks.

Children (under 18 years old)

  • There is no proven safe or effective dose for vinpocetine in children.

Safety

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not strictly regulate herbs and supplements. There is no guarantee of strength, purity or safety of products, and effects may vary. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you experience side effects.

Allergies

  • Avoid in people with a known allergy or sensitivity to vinpocetine.

Side Effects and Warnings

  • Vinpocetine may cause diarrhea, difficulty swallowing and digesting, dizziness, drowsiness, dry mouth, epileptic seizures, excitation, excess irritability, flushed skin, headache, hives, irregular and/or rapid heart rate, low blood pressure, low white blood cell count, nausea, nervousness, premature heart beats, sleep disturbances, stomach distress, stomach pressure, upper abdominal pain, vertigo, and vomiting.
  • Food is believed to increase vinpocetine absorption and minimize the risk of stomach upset.
  • Vinpocetine may change how the body uses glucose for energy. Caution is advised in patients with diabetes or hypoglycemia and in those taking drugs, herbs, or supplements that affect blood sugar. Blood glucose levels may need to be monitored by a qualified healthcare professional, including a pharmacist. Medication adjustments may be necessary.
  • Use cautiously in people with a history of abnormal heart rhythm, especially when injected into veins or muscle.
  • Use cautiously in people with compromised immune function, nervous disorders, sensitive skin, or a sensitive stomach.
  • Use cautiously when combined with agents that inhibit phosphodiesterase enzyme activity, antacids, blood pressure-lowering agents, blood vessel-widening agents, and calcium channel blockers (i.e. flunarizine, nimodipine), due to possible interactions.
  • Vinpocetine may increase the risk of bleeding. Avoid use in people with bleeding disorders or taking drugs that may increase the risk of bleeding. Dosing adjustments may be necessary.
  • Avoid use two weeks before or after any surgical or dental procedure, due to an increased risk of bleeding.
  • Avoid use in pregnant or lactating women, due to a lack of safety information.
  • Avoid with known allergy or sensitivity to vinpocetine.

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

  • There is currently a lack of scientific evidence on the use of vinpocetine during pregnancy or lactation.

Interactions

Interactions with Drugs

  • Vinpocetine may increase the risk of bleeding when taken with drugs that increase the risk of bleeding. Some examples include aspirin, anticoagulants (blood thinners) such as warfarin (Coumadin®) or heparin, antiplatelet drugs such as clopidogrel (Plavix®), and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen (Motrin®, Advil®) or naproxen (Naprosyn®, Aleve®).
  • Vinpocetine may change how the body uses glucose for energy. Caution is advised when using medications that may lower blood sugar. People taking drugs for diabetes by mouth or insulin should be monitored closely by a qualified healthcare professional, including a pharmacist. Medication adjustments may be necessary.
  • Vinpocetine may cause low blood pressure. Caution is advised in people taking drugs that lower blood pressure.
  • Vinpocetine may also interact with agents that affect the immune system, agents that inhibit phosphodiesterase enzyme activity, antacids, and calcium channel blockers.

Interactions with Herbs and Dietary Supplements

  • Vinpocetine may increase the risk of bleeding when taken with herbs and supplements that are believed to increase the risk of bleeding. Multiple cases of bleeding have been reported with the use of Ginkgo biloba, and fewer cases with garlic and saw palmetto. Numerous other agents may theoretically increase the risk of bleeding, although this has not been proven in most cases.
  • Vinpocetine may change how the body uses glucose for energy. Caution is advised when using herbs or supplements that may lower blood sugar. Blood glucose levels may require monitoring, and doses may need adjustment.
  • Vinpocetine may cause low blood pressure. Caution is advised in people taking herbs or supplements that lower blood pressure.
  • Vinpocetine may also interact with antacids, calcium channel blockers, citrus, garlic, green tea, herbs and supplements that affect the immune system, onions, phosphatidylserine, phosphorus, scopolamine, and sodium.
  • Food has been shown to increase the biological availability of vinpocetine by 60-80%.

Attribution
  • This information is based on a systematic review of scientific literature edited and peer-reviewed by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration (www.naturalstandard.com).

Bibliography
  1. Avetisov SE, Kiseleva TN, Lagutina IuM, et al. [Effect of vasoactive agents on visual functions and ocular blood flow in patients with early manifestations of age-related macular degeneration]. Vestn Oftalmol 2007;123(3):26-28.
  2. Balestreri R, Fontana L, Astengo F. A double-blind placebo controlled evaluation of the safety and efficacy of vinpocetine in the treatment of patients with chronic vascular senile cerebral dysfunction. J Am Geriatr Soc 1987;35(5):425-430.
  3. Bereczki D, Fekete I. Vinpocetine for acute ischaemic stroke. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2008;(1):CD000480.
  4. Bhatti JZ, Hindmarch I. Vinpocetine effects on cognitive impairments produced by flunitrazepam. Int Clin Psychopharmacol 1987;2(4):325-331.
  5. Feigin VL, Doronin BM, Popova TF, et al. Vinpocetine treatment in acute ischaemic stroke: a pilot single-blind randomized clinical trial. Eur J Neurol 2001;8(1):81-85.
  6. Hindmarch I, Fuchs HH, Erzigkeit H. Efficacy and tolerance of vinpocetine in ambulant patients suffering from mild to moderate organic psychosyndromes. Int Clin Psychopharmacol 1991;6(1):31-43.
  7. Kemeny V, Molnar S, Andrejkovics M, et al. Acute and chronic effects of vinpocetine on cerebral hemodynamics and neuropsychological performance in multi-infarct patients. J Clin Pharmacol 2005;45(9):1048-1054.
  8. McDaniel MA, Maier SF, Einstein GO. "Brain-specific" nutrients: a memory cure? Nutrition 2003;19(11-12):957-975.
  9. Montorsi F, Corbin J, Phillips S. Review of phosphodiesterases in the urogenital system: new directions for therapeutic intervention. J Sex Med 2004;1(3):322-336.
  10. Szatmari SZ, Whitehouse PJ. Vinpocetine for cognitive impairment and dementia. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2003;(1):CD003119.
  11. Thal LJ, Salmon DP, Lasker B, et al. The safety and lack of efficacy of vinpocetine in Alzheimer's disease. J Am Geriatr Soc 1989;37(6):515-520.
  12. Ueyoshi A, Ota K. Clinical appraisal of vinpocetine for the removal of intractable tumoral calcinosis in haemodialysis patients with renal failure. J Int Med Res 1992;20(5):435-443.
  13. Vas A, Gulyas B, Szabo Z, et al. Clinical and non-clinical investigations using positron emission tomography, near infrared spectroscopy and transcranial Doppler methods on the neuroprotective drug vinpocetine: a summary of evidences. J Neurol Sci 2002;203-204:259-262.
  14. Vegh S, Szikszay E, Bonoczk P, et al. [Retrospective analysis of the effect of vinpocetine infusion in ophthalmologic disorders]. Orv Hetil 2006;147(49):2361-2365.
  15. Vinpocetine. Monograph. Altern Med Rev 2002;7(3):240-243.

Copyright © 2011 Natural Standard (www.naturalstandard.com)


The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.

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