Overview

Vinpocetine is a man-made chemical. Its structure is similar to a substance found in the periwinkle plant. People use vinpocetine as medicine.

Vinpocetine is sold as a prescription drug in Germany under the brand name Cavinton. But high-quality studies evaluating its safety or health benefits are lacking. In the U.S., vinpocetine may be included in dietary supplements, but this is controversial. In the 1990s, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) acknowledged vinpocetine as a new dietary ingredient. This allowed it to be included in supplements. But in 2016, the FDA tentatively concluded that vinpocetine might not meet the criteria to be allowed in dietary supplements. They requested comments about this conclusion from industry trade associations before making a final decision. In June 2019, the FDA issued a warning that vinpocetine may be unsafe in women who are pregnant or who may become pregnant. Because of these safety concerns, the FDA has advised companies marketing vinpocetine products to include a warning on the label advising pregnant women or those who could become pregnant to avoid vinpocetine. The FDA has also stated that they plan to issue a final ruling on whether vinpocetine can be included in dietary supplements.

People use vinpocetine for improving memory and thinking skills, boosting energy, for weight loss, and many other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support these uses.

How does it work ?

It is not known exactly how vinpocetine works, but it might increase blood flow to the brain and offer some protection for brain cells (neurons) against injury.

Uses & Effectiveness ?

Possibly Effective for

  • Diseases, such as Alzheimer's disease, that interfere with thinking (dementia). Vinpocetine might have a small effect on the decline of thinking skills due to dementia or Alzheimer's, but most studies have lasted 4 months or less. Most of the studies were also published before the current definitions and diagnoses for dementia and Alzheimer's were established.

Insufficient Evidence for

  • An eye disease that leads to vision loss in older adults (age-related macular degeneration or AMD). AMD is a condition that causes vision loss in some older people. Early research shows that taking vinpocetine by mouth for 2 months might improve vision in people with AMD.
  • Hearing loss. Early research shows that giving vinpocetine intravenously (by IV) for 10 days does not improve hearing in people with hearing loss.
  • Memory. Early research suggests that vinpocetine might enhance memory in healthy volunteers. Taking vinpocetine along with ginkgo also appears to improve short-term memory in healthy adults.
  • Stroke. There is some evidence that vinpocetine might slightly reduce brain damage due to acute ischemic stroke. There have been only a few clinical studies investigating the use of vinpocetine for stroke, and most have been published in languages other than English. Scientific reviews of these studies found there wasn't enough agreement among the studies to establish the effectiveness of vinpocetine for ischemic stroke.
  • Ringing in the ears (tinnitus). Some early research suggests that giving vinpocetine by mouth and intravenously (by IV) along with physiotherapy might reduce ringing in the ears. However, giving vinpocetine by IV appears to be less effective than the drug nicergoline in reducing ringing in the ears caused by intense sound.
  • Loss of bladder control (urinary incontinence). Early research shows that taking vinpocetine for 2 weeks might reduce the number of times a person with bedwetting and urine control problems needs to urinate during the day or at night.
  • Alzheimer disease.
  • Motion sickness.
  • Seizure disorders (epilepsy).
  • Symptoms of menopause.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of vinpocetine for these uses.

Side Effects

When taken by mouth: Vinpocetine is POSSIBLY SAFE for most people when taken by mouth appropriately, short-term. Vinpocetine can cause some side effects including stomach pain, nausea, sleep disturbances, headache, dizziness, nervousness, and flushing of the face.

When given by IV or as a shot: Vinpocetine is POSSIBLY SAFE when given by IV or as a shot under the care of a health care provider. It might cause irregular or rapid heartbeat in some people. It might also cause a person's blood pressure to become high or low for a short period of time.

Special Precautions and Warnings

Pregnancy: Vinpocetine is POSSIBLY UNSAFE when used in pregnant women or those who may become pregnant. Vinpocetine might increase the risk of miscarriage and might cause harm to the fetus. Avoid using.

Breast-feeding: There isn't enough reliable information to know if vinpocetine is safe to use when breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Bleeding disorders: Don't use vinpocetine if you have a problem with blood clotting because it might increase the risk of bleeding.

Weakened immune system: Vinpocetine might weaken the immune system in some people. This might reduce the body's ability to fight infections. If you already have a weakened immune system due to other conditions such as HIV/AIDS or cancer treatment, check with your healthcare provider before using vinpocetine.

Surgery: Vinpocetine might slow blood clotting. There is a concern that it might increase the risk of bleeding during and after surgery. Stop using vinpocetine at least 2 weeks before you are scheduled for surgery.

Interactions ?

    Moderate Interaction

    Be cautious with this combination

  • Medications that slow blood clotting (Anticoagulant / Antiplatelet drugs) interacts with VINPOCETINE

    Vinpocetine might slow blood clotting. Taking vinpocetine along with medications that also slow clotting might increase the chances of bruising and bleeding.

    Some medications that slow blood clotting include aspirin, clopidogrel (Plavix), diclofenac (Voltaren, Cataflam, others), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, others), naproxen (Anaprox, Naprosyn, others), dalteparin (Fragmin), enoxaparin (Lovenox), heparin, warfarin (Coumadin), and others.

  • Warfarin (Coumadin) interacts with VINPOCETINE

    Warfarin (Coumadin) is used to slow blood clotting. Vinpocetine might increase how long warfarin (Coumadin) is in the body, and increase the chances of bruising and bleeding. Be sure to have your blood checked regularly. The dose of your warfarin (Coumadin) might need to be changed.

Dosing

The following doses have been studied in scientific research:

BY MOUTH:
  • Diseases, such as Alzheimer disease, that interfere with thinking (dementia): 5-10 mg of vinpocetine three times daily for up to 4 months.
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CONDITIONS OF USE AND IMPORTANT INFORMATION: This information is meant to supplement, not replace advice from your doctor or healthcare provider and is not meant to cover all possible uses, precautions, interactions or adverse effects. This information may not fit your specific health circumstances. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified health care provider because of something you have read on WebMD. You should always speak with your doctor or health care professional before you start, stop, or change any prescribed part of your health care plan or treatment and to determine what course of therapy is right for you.

This copyrighted material is provided by Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Consumer Version. Information from this source is evidence-based and objective, and without commercial influence. For professional medical information on natural medicines, see Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Professional Version. © Therapeutic Research Faculty 2018.