Background: Ginkgo biloba drugs (Gb) are reimbursed within the German statutory health insurance (SHI) scheme for treatment of dementia. In 2008, a novel Gb product containing 240 mg Ginkgo extract EGb761® per tablet was introduced aiming to facilitate medication use by incorporating the recommended daily dose in one single tablet. The aim of this study was to evaluate the relationship between dosage strength and persistence in a representative population of patients treated with Gb.
Methods: Retrospective cohort study in ambulatory drug claims database within the German SHI system. Persistence was defined as continuous treatment with an allowable gap of 20% between refills. Multivariate regression models were conducted to identify variables associated with persistence.
Results: Among 13,810 patients initiating treatment with Gb in 2008, 430 (3.1%) received a dosage strength of 240 mg, 7,070 (51.2%) a dosage strength of 120 mg and 6,310 (45.7%) dosage strengths containing less than 120 mg Gb per tablet. After 6 months, persistence was highest for patients treated with the 240 mg dosage form (22.8% of patients), although persistence was low in general (5.7% and 0% of patients treated with 120 mg and less than 120 mg, respectively). Risk for non-persistence was reduced in patients receiving 240 mg products compared to 120 mg (HR = 0.63; 95%CI 0.57 - 0.70).
Conclusions: Patients initially treated with Gb 240 mg were more persistent compared to those receiving lower dosage strengths. Nevertheless, persistence with Gb therapy is generally low and should be improved in order to better realize therapeutic effects.