[Placebo-controlled double-blind study of the effectiveness of Ginkgo biloba special extract EGb 761 in trained patients with intermittent claudication].


Blume J, Kieser M, Holscher U






This monocenter, randomized, placebo-controlled double-blind study with parallel-group comparison was carried out in order to demonstrate the efficacy of Ginkgo biloba special extract EGb 761 on objective and subjective parameters of the walking performance in trained patients suffering from peripheral arterial occlusive disease in Fontaine stage IIb. In total 60 patients were recruited (42 men; aged 47-82 years) with angiographically proven peripheral arterial occlusive disease of the lower extremities and an intermittent claudication existing for at least 6 months. No improvement had been shown despite consistent walking training and a maximum pain-free walking distance on the treadmill of less than 150 m was recorded at the beginning of the study. The therapeutic groups were treated with either Ginkgo biloba special extract EGb 761 at a dose of 3 times 1 film-coated tablet of 40 mg per day by oral route or placebo over a duration of 24 weeks following a two-week placebo run-in phase. The main outcome measure was the difference of the walking distance between the start of treatment and after 8, 16 and 24 weeks of treatment as measured on the treadmill (walking speed 3 km/h and slope of 12%). As secondary parameters the corresponding differences for the maximum walking distance, the relative increase of the pain-free walking distance, the Doppler index and the subjective evaluation of the patients were analyzed. The absolute changes in the pain-free walking distance in treatment weeks 8, 16 and 24 as against the treatment beginning (median values with 95% confidence interval) led to the following values for the patients treated with Ginkgo biloba special extract EGb 761:19 m (14, 33), 34 m (18, 50) and 41 m (26, 64). The corresponding values in the placebo group were as follows: 7 m (-4, 12), 12 m (5, 22) and 8 m (-1, 21). The advantage of the EGb 761-treated group as compared to the placebo group could be verified statistically at the 3 time points with p < 0.0001, p = 0.0003 and p < 0.0001. The test for the presence of a clinically relevant difference of 20% between EGb 761 and placebo also produced a statistically significant result (p = 0.008). The Doppler index remained unchanged in both therapeutic groups: A corresponding statistically significant advantage for the EGb 761 group was observed on a descriptive level for the other parameters tested. The tolerance of the treatment was very good. The results of this placebo-controlled study show that treatment with Ginkgo biloba special extract EGb 761 produces a statistically highly significant and clinically relevant improvement of the walking performance in trained patients suffering from intermittent claudication with very good tolerance of the study preparation.