Medication Monitor

Generic Name (Trade Name—Company)
June 13, 2019


(No trade name—Multiple manufacturers)
Dietary supplements containing vinpocetine may cause miscarriage or fetal harm, FDA warns

In a June 30 statement, FDA warned pregnant women and women who could become pregnant not to take dietary supplements containing vinpocetine because it is associated with adverse reproductive effects. FDA has determined that vinpocetine may cause a miscarriage or harm fetal development.

These findings are particularly concerning because products containing vinpocetine are widely available for use by women of childbearing age. FDA is also advising firms marketing dietary supplements 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 a synthetically produced compound that is used in some products marketed as dietary supplements, either by itself or combined with other ingredients. Vinpocetine may be referred to on product labels as Vinca minor extract, lesser periwinkle extract, or common periwinkle extract. Dietary supplements containing vinpocetine are often marketed for uses that include enhanced memory, focus, or mental acuity; increased energy; and weight loss.

Scientists who have studied the effects of vinpocetine on pregnant animals concluded that vinpocetine decreased fetal weight and increased the chances of a miscarriage. The blood levels of vinpocetine measured in the pregnant animals were similar to those reported in people after taking a single dose of vinpocetine, indicating that pregnant women may experience adverse effects from vinpocetine similar to those seen in the pregnant animals.