Objective: A combination herbal product containing American ginseng extract, Panax quinquefolium, (200 mg) and Ginkgo biloba extract (50 mg) (AD-FX; CV Technologies, Edmonton, Alta.) was tested for its ability to improve the symptoms of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Design: Open study.
Patients: 36 children ranging in age from 3 to 17 years who fit the diagnostic criteria for ADHD.
Interventions: AD-FX capsules were taken twice a day on an empty stomach for 4 weeks. Patients were instructed not to change any other medications during the study.
Outcome measures: At the beginning of the study, after 2 weeks, and then at the end of the 4-week trial, parents completed the Conners' Parent Rating Scale--revised, long version, a questionnaire that assesses a broad range of problem behaviours (and was used as an indication of ADHD symptom severity).
Results: After 2 weeks of treatment, the proportion of the subjects exhibiting improvement (i.e., decrease in T-score of at least 5 points) ranged from 31% for the anxious-shy attribute to 67% for the psychosomatic attribute. After 4 weeks of treatment, the proportion of subjects exhibiting improvement ranged from 44% for the social problems attribute to 74% for the Conners' ADHD index and the DSM-IV hyperactive-impulsive attribute. Five (14%) of 36 subjects reported adverse events, only 2 of which were considered related to the study medication.
Conclusions: These preliminary results suggest AD-FX treatment may improve symptoms of ADHD and should encourage further research on the use of ginseng and Ginkgo biloba extracts to treat ADHD symptoms.