Elderly people with epilepsy who supplement their medication with the popular herb Ginkgo biloba in order to improve their memory may put themselves at risk of seizures, two case reports suggest. Ginkgo biloba is purported to be helpful for a variety of conditions including memory loss and dementia, so elderly patients with dementia may often decide to take the supplement. In addition, epilepsy is more common among elderly individuals than among any other age group.
Scientists wish to draw attention to the possibility that seizures may be precipitated by Ginkgo biloba. They feel that this and other potential adverse effects should be highlighted on the packaging of the drug. Most importantly, people need to be encouraged to discuss all such products with their doctors before they start taking them.
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