The C.A.M. Report
Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Fair, Balanced, and to the Point
  • About this web log

    This blog is intended as an objective and dispassionate source of information on the latest CAM research. Since my background is in pharmacy and allopathic medicine, I view all CAM as advancing through the development pipeline to eventually become integrated into mainstream medical practice. Some will succeed while others fail. But all are treated fairly here.

  • About the author

    John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at www.Vicus.com, a complementary and alternative medicine website.

  • Common sense considerations

    The material on this weblog is for informational purposes. It is not medical advice or counsel. Be smart, consult your health professional before using CAM.

  • Support this site

    If you found the information here helpful, please consider supporting this site.If you found the information here helpful, please consider supporting this site.

  • Recent Posts

  • Recent Comments

    Ginkgo biloba vs nifedipine to treat Raynaud’s disease

    Raynaud’s disease causes some areas of the body (fingers, toes, tip of the nose and ears) to feel numb and cool in response to cold temperatures or stress. During a Raynaud’s attack, the arteries become narrow and limit blood flow to affected areas.

    During the American Academy of Family Physicians 2007 Annual Scientific Assembly Ginkgo biloba was reportedly less effective than the calcium channel blocker nifedipine (Adalat, Procardia).

    First, the details as reported on Medscape.

    • 134 adults with Raynaud’s disease were randomly assigned to treatment with either nifedipine SR (sustained release) or the Ginkgo biloba extract.

    And, the results.

    • Only 64 patients completed the study.
    • The percentage change in the attack rate after 8 weeks of treatment was 50% with nifedipine vs 31% with Ginkgo biloba.
    • Improvement rate was more rapid with nifedipine.
    • Thermographic assessment revealed that nifedipine “prevented the reduction of blood flow and contributed to recovery of blood flow after cold challenge in patients with Raynaud’s disease significantly more effectively than ginkgo.”
    • Both agents were well tolerated without serious adverse events.

    The bottom line?
    It’s not explained why so many people dropped out of this study, or if they were skewed toward one treatment group. The doses were also not revealed in the article. Both points make it difficult to compare these finding to an earlier positive study of Ginkgo biloba.

    Published in 2002, researchers from the UK reported a significantly greater reduction (56%) in attacks with Ginkgo biloba extract (Seredrin) vs placebo (27%).

    After reviewing the poster, Dr. Beth Boyer Vehre, a family physician from Greenville, Ohio concluded, “If the patient felt strongly about not using the nifedipine, I probably would tell them [ginkgo] is something you could use, but it’s not as effective.”

    OK, but there are also side effects, drug interactions, warnings, cautions, and contraindications related to the use of nifedipine to consider.

    MayoClinic.com reviews Raynaud’s disease here. For balance, MayoClinic.com has a review of Ginkgo biloba here.

    10/12/07 20:44 JR

    Leave a Comment

    XHTML: Line-breaks are automatic. Available tags are <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>