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Hausen Björn M.
Dermatitis: September 1998

Background:Ginkgo bilobapossesses fruits that have caused numerous cases of allergic contact dermatitis. Low amounts of the ginkgolic acids occur in the leaves as well.

Objective:Leaf extracts are used to treat cerebrovascular and peripheral vascular disorders. The question arises whether skin hypersensitivity reactions may be adverse effects because the pharmaceutical preparations contain low amounts of ginkgolic acids.

Methods:Guinea pigs were sensitized experimentally with pure ginkgolic acids as well as with leaf extracts containing approximately 1,000 ppm of ginkgolic acids.

Results:The guinea pigs could be sensitized successfully with the pure ginkgolic acids. The animals could not be sensitized with the leaf extract.

Conclusion:Leaf extracts ofGinkgo bilobataken orally or given by infusion to treat diffuse cerebral disturbances can be considered safe, even when they might contain up to 1,000 ppm of the sensitizing ginkgolic acids.

From the Dermatology Center, Buxtehude, Germany.

Address reprint requests to Björn M. Hausen, MD, Dermatology Center, Am Krankenhaus 1, D-21614 Buxtehude, Germany.

©1998American Contact Dermatitis Society

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