Exposure to traumatic stressors lead to activation of arousal responses mediated by serotonergic and noradrenergic systems and it may cause a change in numerous neurotransmitters and neuroendocrine systems. There is ample experimental and clinical evidence to suggest that Ginkgo biloba extract is neuroprotective and has antioxidant properties and can restore stress-induced elevation in brain levels of catecholamines, 5-HT and plasma corticosterone to normal level.
In a 12-week, double-blind, placebo-controlled study, the efficacy and safety of adding-on a fixed-dose (200mg) of Ginkgo TD to the previous treatment regime of adults with PTSD were examined. Subjects were forty male and female outpatients from a public-owned psychiatric clinic who met criteria for PTSD seven month after a 6.3 Richter earthquake in Bam city on December 26, 2003. The changes in five symptom domains including posttraumatic stress, anxiety and affective symptoms, general health and subjective stress after trauma were ssessed at weeks 0, 12 and 16 to examine effectiveness of the added-on Ginkgo TD and stability of its effects.
Ginkgo TD was associated with a significantly greater improvement than placebo in PTSD patients as measured by five symptom domain scales including: GHQ-28; Watson PTSD Scale; HAM-D; HAM-A and IES (p= 0.02, 0.01, 0.001, 0.01, 0.02 respectively) Four weeks after the discontinuation of intervention, no significant difference was determined between the two groups in the five outcome measures (p= 0.005, 0.01, 0.004, 0.005, 0.01 respectively). No significant difference was observed between the two groups in terms of side effects.
We found Ginkgo TD to be superior to placebo as an adding-on in the treatment of PTSD. Although we did not examine the comparative efficacy of Ginkgo TD on the three main elements of PTSD, beneficial effects both on specific PTSD symptomatology and general conditions including anxiety, depression, general health and perceived stress were indicated.
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