Vinpocetine in Dietary Supplements
Vinpocetine is a synthetic compound that is derived from vincamine, an alkaloid found in the Vinca minor L. plant. Vinpocetine can also be derived from tabersonine, an alkaloid found in Voacanga seeds. According to the information FDA has reviewed, vinpocetine is not a constituent of these plants, or of any other plants. Instead, it is synthetically produced.
According to a report by NIH’s National Toxicology Program, products containing vinpocetine are marketed for uses that include improvement of brain function, rapid weight loss and/or fat loss, increases in energy, and improvement in visual acuity, memory, and focus. Vinpocetine is also reportedly marketed for prevention of motion sickness and treatment of menopausal symptoms, chronic fatigue syndrome, seizure disorders, and hearing and eye disorders. FDA has not evaluated whether vinpocetine is effective for any of these uses.
On September 6, 2016, FDA published a Federal Register notice seeking comment on its tentative conclusions that vinpocetine (1) does not meet the definition of a dietary ingredient, and (2) is excluded from the definition of a dietary supplement under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act because vinpocetine was authorized for investigation as a new drug before it was marketed as a dietary supplement or as a food. The evidence for these conclusions is discussed in the notice, and the comments FDA received are available at www.regulations.gov (Docket FDA-2016-N-2523).
On June 3, 2019, FDA issued a safety warning for women of childbearing age about vinpocetine. According to data reviewed by FDA, consumption of vinpocetine is associated with adverse reproductive effects – in other words, vinpocetine may cause a miscarriage or harm fetal development. Accordingly, FDA is advising pregnant women and women who could become pregnant not to take vinpocetine. The agency is also advising dietary supplement firms marketing products containing vinpocetine to evaluate their product labeling to ensure that it provides safety warnings against use by pregnant women and women who could become pregnant.
Vinpocetine is also known as:
- Ethyl Apovincaminate
- Common Periwinkle Vinpocetine
- Lesser Periwinkle extract
- Vinca minor extract
FDA Actions on Dietary Supplements Labeled as Containing Vinpocetine
- Statement on Warning for Women of Childbearing Age About Possible Safety Risks of Dietary Supplements Containing Vinpocetine (June 2019)
- Constituent Update: FDA Requests Comments on the Status of Vinpocetine (September 2016)
- Federal Register Notice: Request for Comment on the Status of Vinpocetine (September 2016)
This webpage describes FDA’s views and recent actions with regard to an ingredient used in products marketed as dietary supplements. If you have evidence that calls FDA’s views into question, we invite you to submit it, along with your reasoning, to FDA at ODSP@fda.hhs.gov.
This page is not intended to provide a complete list of all FDA actions and communications with regard to this ingredient and its use in products marketed as dietary supplements.