Vinpocetine: An herbal stroke treatment?

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Vinpocetine: An herbal stroke treatment?

Question

My mother, who lives in Greece, recently had a stroke. Her doctor recommended a drug called vinpocetine. I have not been able to find much information about this drug. Can you help?

John
Illinois

Answer

Vinpocetine is a synthetic derivative of a compound found in the periwinkle plant (Vinca minor). Vinpocetine is available as a prescription drug in Europe and Japan. In the United States, it is sold as a dietary supplement.

Some preliminary research suggests that vinpocetine may reduce some of the long-term cognitive impairment after an acute ischemic stroke — supposedly by improving blood flow to the brain. However, there have been few clinical studies that have examined the use of vinpocetine for stroke. More research is needed to determine what, if any, role vinpocetine may play in the prevention and treatment of stroke.

Side effects of vinpocetine may include upset stomach, vertigo, anxiety, nausea, facial flushing, sleep problems and headache.

Last Updated: 08/02/2006
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