Vinpocetine, also known under the brand name Cavinton, is an alkaloid derived from Vinca Minor plant which is also known as periwinkle. It was first isolated in 1975 in Hungary, and the commercial production of the drug started in 1978 by the Gedeon Richter company.
Vinpocetine often used in the medical practice as a cerebral vasodilator, a substance that improves cerebral blood flow. The indications for use is cerebrovascular disorders, stroke consequences and age-related impairment of cognitive functions. This drug considered safer than other cerebrovasodilators because it increases brain blood flow without redistribution of the blood flow away from underperfused brain regions.
As a vasodilator substance, Vinpocetine lowers the blood viscosity and relaxes the vascular smooth muscle thus improving cerebral blood flow and retinal microcirculation. It is somewhat similar to its effects to Ginkgo Biloba extract, another substance of the herbal origin used as a Nootropic supplement. Both Vinpocetine and Ginkgo are a possible treatment for tinnitus. The drug exhibits anticonvulsant and neuroprotective properties. Some people use Vinpocetine as Nootropic supplement that can improve memory and focus.
Clinical usage and indications
Vinpocetine does not utilize in clinical practice in the United States and marketed as a dietary supplement. However, it is widely used in Eastern Europe and Russia. Here are the indications for use and information from some related studies:
Organic psychosyndrome. In a randomized, double-blind multicentre trial in patients suffering from organic psychosyndrome, patients that received treatment with Cavinton showed significant improvement on CGI and SKT scale compared to the placebo group.
Cerebrovascular disorders. In the study performed on 100 patients suffering from various cerebrovascular disorders Cavinton improved their performance in psychodiagnostic tests, memory, and alertness. Their EEG results were improved as well. Another randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled study on patients with ischemic stroke showed that Cavinton increased their cerebral perfusion.
Epilepsy. During the clinical trial performed on 31 patients suffering from various forms of epilepsy, in 20 patients this drug decreased the frequency of attacks or led to their complete disappearance. In a study on the newborns with birth traumas, Cavinton combined with conventional therapy showed better results than standard therapy alone.
According to clinical studies, Vinpocetine is safe and well-tolerated drug even for the long-term usage. However, it has some contraindications for use:
- Low vascular tone
- Labile blood pressure
- Pregnancy and lactation (the safety has not been evaluated)
- Adverse forms of ischemic heart disease and arrhythmia
- Raised intracranial pressure
- The acute phase of hemorrhagic stroke.
Possible side effects according to the official instruction are vertigo, headaches, insomnia, drowsiness, flushing of the face and possible allergic reactions.
Suggested dosage is 5-10mg three times a day. The length of the course is two months. One pill of Cavinton contains 5mg of Vinpocetine, one pill of Cavinton Forte – 10mg.