Should Women be Concerned About Vinpocetine?

Should Women be Concerned about Vinpocentine

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a warning in June about the safety of vinpocetine, a compound found in some dietary supplements. Vinpocetine, also known as common periwinkle extract, lesser periwinkle extract and vinca minor extract, is a synthetic derivative of the periwinkle plant. Since the 1990s, vinpocetine has been used in some supplements sold in the U.S. for enhancing memory, staving off age-related cognitive decline, increasing energy and aiding in weight loss. Vinpocetine is sold as a prescription drug elsewhere in the world, such as in Germany under the brand name Cavinton.

According to the Natural Medicines Database, vinpocetine has been linked in animals to increased risk of miscarriage and low fetal weight. Citing rat and rabbit prenatal developmental studies, the FDA advises women who are pregnant or capable of becoming pregnant not to consume products containing vinpocetine. In addition, the FDA will expedite completion of an administrative proceeding on vinpocetine that began in September 2016 to determine its legal status for sale as a dietary supplement in the United States.


Statement on warning for women of childbearing age about possible safety risks of dietary supplements containing vinpocetine. U.S. Food and Drug Administration website. Published June 3, 2019. Accessed June 28, 2019.
Vinpocentine. Natural Medicines Database website. Updated June 13, 2019. Accessed June 28, 2019.

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Taylor Wolfram
Taylor Wolfram, MS, RDN, LDN, is a consultant and private practice dietitian based in Chicago. She uses a Health At Every Size framework to provide inclusive nutrition counseling and intuitive eating coaching. Read her blog at