Vinpocetine (ethyl apovincaminate) is a nootropic drug obtained from vincamine, an alkaloid of Vinca minor plant.
Vinpocetine was discovered in the 1960s in Hungary and it has a history of medicinal use since 1978. Currently, it is known under brand name Cavinton@, which is a #2 bestselling drug of one of the largest European pharmaceutical companies, Gedeon Richter.
Besides wide usage in medicine, ethyl apovincaminate is often seen in nootropic supplements stacks available on the U.S. market. It is also a component of a widely used in Russia combination drug on Vinpotropile@.
Vinpocetine is a cerebral vasodilator, thus its primary pharmacological effect is the improvement of cerebral blood flow, and the primary clinical use is the treatment of cerebrovascular disorders such as strokes and atherosclerosis. The vasodilatory action of Vinpocetine is mediated by a smooth muscle relaxation and a decrease of blood viscosity.
According to clinical trials and anecdotal experiences, Cavinton@ may be used to relieve tinnitus. This also applies to another cerebral vasodilator of herbal origin, Bilobil ® (Ginkgo Biloba extract).
Besides the beneficial effect on blood flow, the drug was shown to exert pronounced neuroprotective properties. Vinpocetine inhibits voltage-gated sodium channels with the blocking potency comparable to that of Phenytoin, an anticonvulsant drug.