Vasodilator and activator

of cerebral metabolism

Vinpocetine side effects

Vinpocetine thus possesses a unique profile:

  • Potent metabolic enhancer.
  • Selective (non ''steal effect'') cerebral blood flow enhancer.
  • Neural oxygenator.
  • Anti-platelet aggregation blood thinner.
  • Locus coeruleus activator (anatomical region in the brain stem involved in the response to the panic and stress).
  • EEG normalizing vigilance enhancer (electroencephalogram).

And yet human and animal studies consistently show a remarkable safety profile and freedom from side effects. Thus, in a study on Vinpocetine's ability to improve sensorineural hearing disorders, Ribari and colleagues note that ''... Vinpocetine has no side effects...''1

In their extremely detailed examination of Vinpocetine use in 100 patients with neurovascular diseases Szobor and Klein report that ''...Laboratory tests, urinalysis, blood picture, blood sugar, liver function, SGOT, SGPT, CN, electrolytes, cholesterol and total Iipids did not change ... The glucose tolerance did not deteriorate in the diabetic patients.''2

In a highly successful double-blind placebo study of Vinpocetine with 84 elderly patients suffering from chronic vascular senile brain dysfunction, Balestreri, found only 12 adverse effect reports in the Vinpocetine group (mostly digestive complaints) versus 17 in the placebo group!

No significant adverse laboratory findings were found in either group3. A major Japanese study by Otomo and colleagues with 207 patients suffering various cerebral disorders found only a 2% incidence of mild adverse side effects- anorexia in 2 patients, hives and stomach pain in 1 and hot flashes in 1. No significant adverse laboratory findings occurred in the 207 Vinpocetine patients.4

In their summary of various animal safety tests, Cholnoky and Oomok found the oral L050 for Vinpocetine (the dose lethal for 50% of the test animals) to be 534mg/ Kg of bodyweight for mice, 503 mg/Kg of bodyweight for rats. This would equate to approximately 35,000mg for a 150 pound human. The usual therapeutic dose for Vinpocetine for humans is 15-30mg per day! Because of side effects at high doses when used with pregnant rats (uterine bleeding in some), Cholnoky and Oomok caution against using Vinpocetine in pregnant women, or those trying or expecting to get pregnant.5

Overall, Vinpocetine side effects reported in the literature are rare, usually minor, frequently disappear with prolonged use, and rarely require discontinuance of the product.

The main side effects (which rarely occur), one might say, are:

  • Stomach / GI upset.
  • Dry mouth.
  • Rapid heart beat.
  • Low blood pressure.
  • Rash / hives.


  • Not one single case of intoxication during 30 years of marketing.
  • After 30 years of marketing, hundreds of thousands have taken Vinpocetine Covex 5 mg, and more than 30 million tablets have been sold.
  • There is no evidence of any single case of oral intoxication from Vinpocetine Covex 5 mg. This cannot be stated for other products such as aspirin or antibiotics.

1. O. Ribari (1976) ''Ethyl Apovincaminate in the treatment of sensorineural impairment of hearing'' A.F. (D.R.) 28, 1977-80.
2. A. Szobor y M. Klein (1976) ''Ethyl Apovincaminate therapy in neurovascular disease'' A.F. (D.R.) 28, 1984-89.
3. R. Balestreri (1987) ''A doublé blind placebo controlled evaluation of the safety and efficacy of Vinpocetine in the treatment of patients with chronic vascular senile cerebral dysfunction'' j. Am Geriatr Soc 35, 525-30.
4. E. Otomo (1985) ''Comparison of Vinpocetine with Ifenprodil tratrate and Dihyroergotoxine Mesylate treatment and results of long treatment with Vinpocetine.'' Curr Ther Res 37, 811-21.
5. E. Cholnoky and L. Domok (1976) ''Summary of safety test of Ethyl Apovincaminate'' A.F.(D.R.)28, 1938-44.

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