A new study found that the combined use of ginkgo and aspirin is becoming more popular.
Researchers from Taiwan explained that although interactions between aspirin and Ginkgo biloba have been documented, the extent to which these two drugs are used in combination remains unclear.
The study investigated the combined prescriptions of aspirin and ginkgo extract in Taiwan based on an analysis of a nationwide database.
A sample of 200,000 National Health Insurance (NHI) beneficiaries showed an increase in the number of aspirin prescriptions of 1.2 percent in 1997 to 2.0 percent in 2003.
Aspirin was mostly prescribed to patients over 50 years old. The percentage of prescriptions with aspirin increased from 57 to 84 percent among those over 50 years old. The number of prescriptions with ginkgo extract also increased; it doubled.
During the study period, combined prescriptions of aspirin and ginkgo extract dramatically increased four times. Most prescriptions were longer than 14 days and 42.4 percent of combined prescriptions were found to be at the same ambulatory care visit.
The authors concluded that there is an increasing trend in co-prescription of aspirin and ginkgo extract. This is alarming because both substances have blood thinning effects. Combined use may increase the risk of bleeding. Based on several case reports of spontaneous bleeding, caution is advised in patients using ginkgo as a monotherapy or concomitantly with warfarin or aspirin.