Cavinton and Cavinton Forte is a brand name for Vinpocetine, is an alkaloid derived from Vinca Minor plant which is also known as periwinkle. It was first isolated in 1960’s in Hungary, and the commercial production of the drug started in 1978 by the Gedeon Richter company. Cavinton Forte featured by higher dosage – 10mg/pill instead of 5mg.

Cavinton often used in the medical practice as a cerebral vasodilator, a substance that improves cerebral blood flow. The usual clinical utility of Cavinton is cerebrovascular disorders, stroke consequences and age-related impairment of cognitive functions. This drug considered safer than other cerebrovasodilators because it increases brain blood flow without redistribution of the blood flow away from underperfused brain regions.

As a vasodilator substance, Cavinton lowers the blood viscosity and relaxes the vascular smooth muscle thus improving cerebral blood flow and retinal microcirculation. It is somewhat similar to its effects to Ginkgo Biloba extract, another substance of the herbal origin used as a Nootropic supplement. Both Cavinton and Ginkgo are a possible treatment for tinnitus. The drug exhibits anticonvulsant and neuroprotective properties.

Some people use Cavinton as Nootropic supplement that can improve memory and focus. The results of clinical trials are controversial. For example, Cavinton enhanced memory and learnability of patients who have vascular dementia in a double-blind clinical trial. But in patients with Alzheimer’s disease, it won’t improve their condition and did not slow the rate of decline. An important thing to note here is that other vasodilators have been ineffective in this disorder too.

 

Clinical usage and indications of Cavinton

Vinpocetine does not utilize in clinical practice in the United States and marketed as a dietary supplement. However, it is widely used in Eastern Europe and Russia. Here are the indications for use and information from some related studies:

Organic psychosyndrome. In a randomized, double-blind multicentre trial in patients suffering from organic psychosyndrome, patients that received treatment with Cavinton showed significant improvement on CGI and SKT scale compared to the placebo group.

Cerebrovascular disorders. In the study performed on 100 patients suffering from various cerebrovascular disorders Cavinton improved their performance in psychodiagnostic tests, memory, and alertness. Their EEG results were improved as well. Another randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled study on patients with ischemic stroke showed that Cavinton increased their cerebral perfusion.

Epilepsy. During the clinical trial performed on 31 patients suffering from various forms of epilepsy, in 20 patients this drug decreased the frequency of attacks or led to their complete disappearance. In a study on the newborns with birth traumas, Cavinton combined with conventional therapy showed better results than standard therapy alone.

 

Side effects and dosage

According to clinical studies, Vinpocetine is safe and well-tolerated drug even for the long-term usage. However, it has some contraindications for use:

  • Low vascular tone
  • Labile blood pressure
  • Pregnancy and lactation (the safety has not been evaluated)
  • Hypersensitivity
  • Adverse forms of ischemic heart disease and arrhythmia
  • Raised intracranial pressure
  • The acute phase of hemorrhagic stroke.

Possible side effects according to the official instruction are vertigo, headaches, insomnia, drowsiness, flushing of the face and possible allergic reactions.

Suggested Cavinton dosage is 5-10mg three times a day. The length of the course is two months. One pill of Cavinton contains 5mg of Vinpocetine, one pill of Cavinton Forte – 10mg.

 

Conclusion

Vinpocetine is a well-tolerated vasodilator. The effects most pronounced in people with cardiovascular disorders, in healthy adults the effects are subtle. It is safe and does not form the addiction. Side effects are rare and mostly common even for placebo.

Cavinton is currently available in the United States OTC as a dietary supplement. So, you can take it even as a healthy adult for cognitive improvement purposes. You may benefit from it regarding memory and concentration improvement, but likely those effects will be subtle or unnoticeable if you are healthy (according to studies).

 

References

  1. Dutov AA, Gal’tvanitsa GA, Volkova VA, Sukhanova ON, Lavrishcheva TG, Petrov AP. “Cavinton in the prevention of the convulsive syndrome in children after birth injury”
  2. Hindmarch I, Fuchs HH, Erzigkeit H. “Efficacy and tolerance of vinpocetine in ambulant patients suffering from mild to moderate organic psychosyndromes”
  3. Dutov AA, Tolpyshev BA, Petrov AP, Gladun VN. “Use of cavinton in epilepsy”
  4. Thal LJ, Salmon DP, Lasker B, Bower D, Klauber MR. “The safety and lack of efficacy of vinpocetine in Alzheimer’s disease”
  5. Dr. L. Blaha med., H. Erzigkeit PhD, A. Adamczyk, S. Freytag, R. Schaltenbrand Ph.D “Clinical evidence of the effectiveness of vinpocetine in the treatment of organic psychosyndrome”
  6. Zhang W, Huang Y, Li Y, Tan L, Nao J, Hu H, Zhang J, Li C, Kong Y, Song Y. “Efficacy and Safety of Vinpocetine as Part of Treatment for Acute Cerebral Infarction: A Randomized, Open-Label, Controlled, Multicenter CAVIN (Chinese Assessment for Vinpocetine in Neurology) Trial”
  7. Donna M. Coleston, Ian Hindmarch “Possible memory-enhancing properties of vinpocetine”
  8. Dr. L. Blaha med., H. Erzigkeit PhD, A. Adamczyk, S. Freytag, R. Schaltenbrand Ph.D “Clinical evidence of the effectiveness of vinpocetine in the treatment of organic psychosyndrome”