Treating tardive dyskinesia with Ginkgo biloba

Tardive dyskinesia is a disorder that involves involuntary movements, especially of the lower face.

Researchers at Peking University, in Beijing, China studied the value of EGb-761, a standardized extract given in capsule form, in patients with schizophrenia.

First, the details.

  • 157 patients were randomly assigned to a treatment group for 12 weeks.
    • EGb-761, 240 mg/day
    • Placebo
  • Changes in the Abnormal Involuntary Movement Scale (AIMS) score and the proportion of patients with at least a 30% reduction in their AIMS total score were measured.
  • In addition, changes in symptoms and cognitive performance (reasoning) were recorded.
  • Neither the patients nor researchers knew the treatment given — double blind.

And, the results.

  • EGb-761 treatment significantly decreased the AIMS total score vs placebo, with 51% vs 5% of patients responding, respectively.
  • There were no differences between treatments in symptoms and cognitive performance.

The bottom line?

The authors concluded, “EGb-761 appears to be an effective treatment for reducing the symptoms of tardive dyskinesia in schizophrenia patients.”

“Improvement may be mediated through the well-known antioxidant activity of this extract,” say the authors.

The results are important because, in the US alone, it’s estimated that tardive dyskinesia affects 2 million schizophrenia patients taking neuroleptic medications to manage symptoms. Despite this, there is still an absence effective for tardive dyskinesia in people taking neuroleptics.

A list of neuroleptic drugs is here.

A lot more on studies of EGb-761 is here.

10/15/10 22:13 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.