Ginkgo to prevent migraine without aura

Researcher from Italy and Florida studied Ginkgolide B (a component in Ginkgo biloba) as preventive treatment in a group of young patients suffering from migraine without aura.

First, the details.

  • 24 young patients suffering from migraine without aura entered the study.
  • Initial onset of migraine was at least 1 year before, and at least 4 migraine attacks (4days/headache/month) during each of the 3 months prior to the study.
  • Migraine without aura was diagnosed according to International Headache Society criteria.
  • Treatment included a combination of Ginkgolide B 80 mg, coenzyme Q10 20 mg, vitamin B2 1.6 mg, and magnesium 300 mg given by mouth twice per day, in the morning and evening, with meals, for 3 months.
  • After 3 months, number, duration, severity headache episodes, and use of pain medicine were evaluated.
  • Follow-up sessions were planned for 3, and 6 months after the start of the study.

And, the results.

  • The number of monthly migraine attacks was substantially reduced after 3 months of treatment with Ginkgolide B (2 attacks) compared to before the study (7 attacks).
  • The average number of days of headache per month decreased significantly to 2.
  • There was also a significant decrease of number of analgesics used for the attacks (from 6 to 2).
  • Treatment was well tolerated and the compliance was good.
  • Patients and parents reported substantial improvement in migraine vs prior to the study.
  • None of the patients reported worsening of migraine.

The bottom line?

The authors concluded, “These preliminary data show that Ginkgolide B seems to be effective as preventive treatment in reducing migraine attack frequency and in attenuating the use of symptomatic medication in our small series of children with primary headache.”

It’s unfortunate that a placebo or a usual care group wasn’t included in this study. Perhaps next time.

Last year, other researchers from Italy reported that in patients suffering from migraine with aura, “Ginkgolide B [in a slightly different formulation] is effective in reducing migraine… frequency and duration.”

This study also lacked a placebo or usual care group for comparison.

6/1/10 18:40 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.