Clinical efficacy of Ginkgo biloba special extract EGb 761 in dementia of the Alzheimer type

J Psychiatr Res. 1997 Nov-Dec;31(6):645-55. doi: 10.1016/s0022-3956(97)00022-8.


Among the psychiatric illnesses associated with old age primary degenerative dementia of the Alzheimer type (DAT) has gained increasing importance in recent years. Even though a curative treatment of the disease is currently impossible, various drugs can be used to slow down its progression. In the present study the influence of oral treatment with 240 mg/day of Ginkgo bilabo special extract EGb 761 (Tebonin forte, manufactured by Dr Willmar Schwabe, Karlsruhe) on the clinical course of DAT was investigated in a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled parallel-group design in 20 outpatients. The duration of treatment was 3 months. The primary outcome variable was the sum score in the SKT-test for the determination of attention and memory. Other psychometric tests (trailmaking test, ADAS, CGI) and electrophysiological investigations (EEG topography) were evaluated descriptively. Although the active-treatment group, with a mean sum score of 19.67 points in the, S.K.T., had a poorer baseline level than the placebo group (18.11 points), it experienced an improvement to 16.78 points under treatment with EGb 761 whereas the placebo group deteriorated to 18.89 points. The differences between the baseline and final values formed the basis for a statistical group comparison, which gave a result favourable to EGb 761, at a significance level of p < .013. In addition to this psychometric confirmation of efficacy, certain descriptive trends were found at the psychopathological (Clinical Global Impression) and dynamic functional (EEG findings) levels, which can be interpreted as evidence of effectiveness of Ginkgo biloba special extract EGb 761 in mild to moderate dementia and of local effects in the central nervous system. Inter-group differences in the ADAS cognitive and non-cognitive subscales did not reach statistical significance, probably because of the small sample size.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Alzheimer Disease / complications
  • Alzheimer Disease / drug therapy*
  • Cognition Disorders / diagnosis
  • Cognition Disorders / etiology
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Free Radical Scavengers / therapeutic use*
  • Ginkgo biloba
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use*


  • Free Radical Scavengers
  • Plant Extracts
  • Ginkgo biloba extract