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.

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    Effect of Ginkgo biloba on platetlets and bleeding

    About 20 detailed reports of hemorrhage (usually cerebral, ocular, or postsurgical) in patients using Gingko biloba extracts have been published.

    This study examined the potential effect of aspirin plus Ginkgo biloba on platelet function — one part of the clotting process.

    First, the details.

    • Ginkgo biloba (EGb 761, 300 mg/day) was compared with placebo for its effects on platelet function in 99 elderly adults taking 325 mg/day of aspirin.
    • Each person had peripheral artery disease or risk factors for cardiovascular disease.
    • They kept daily logs of bleeding or bruising episodes.

    And, the results.

    • There were no differences between the groups based on PFA-100 analysis (a lab test of platelet function) or platelet aggregation (clumping together of platelets in blood that results in a clot).
    • Reports of bleeding or bruising were infrequent and similar for both study groups.

    The bottom line?
    In this group of older adults, a relatively high dose of Ginkgo biloba combined with aspirin had no detectable effect on coagulation compared to the effect of aspirin alone.

    It’s recommended to stop Ginkgo biloba before surgery, because of concern over the risk of bleeding. This study suggests that if bleeding is a risk, it’s not due to Ginkgo’s effect on platelets.

    This is all nice to know, but I think it’s still prudent to stop taking Ginkgo biloba before surgery until more definitive research results become available.

    I’ll look for more data. But for now, talk to your healthcare provider.

    11/13/07 16:39 JR updated 8/21/08

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