Background: Tinnitus can be described as the perception of sound in the absence of external acoustic stimulation. At present no specific therapy for tinnitus is acknowledged to be satisfactory in all patients. There are a number of reports in the literature suggesting that Ginkgo biloba may be effective in the management of tinnitus. However, there also appears to be a strong placebo effect in tinnitus management.
Objectives: To assess the effect of Ginkgo biloba in patients who are troubled by tinnitus.
Search strategy: The Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) (Cochrane Library Issue 4 2003), MEDLINE (1966 - 2003), EMBASE (1974 - 2003), and reference lists of identified publications. Date of the most recent search was December 2003.
Selection criteria: Adults (18 years and over) complaining of tinnitus. Adults with a primary complaint of cerebral insufficiency where tinnitus forms part of the syndrome.
Data collection and analysis: Both reviewers independently extracted data and assessed trials for quality.
Main results: Twelve trials were identified from the search as being relevant to the review. Ten trials were excluded on methodological grounds. No trials of tinnitus in cerebral insufficiency reached a satisfactory standard for inclusion in the review. There was no evidence that Ginkgo biloba was effective for the primary complaint of tinnitus. The incidence of side effects was small.
Reviewers' conclusions: The limited evidence did not demonstrate that Ginkgo biloba was effective for tinnitus which is a primary complaint. There was no reliable evidence to address the question of Ginkgo biloba for tinnitus associated with cerebral insufficiency.