• Ginsenoside-Rd;
  • ischaemic stroke;
  • randomized trial

Background and purpose:  Ginsenoside-Rd is a receptor-operated calcium channel antagonist and has shown promise as a neuroprotectant in our phase II study. As an extended work, we sought to confirm its efficacy and safety of Ginsenoside-Rd in patients with acute ischaemic stroke.

Methods:  We conducted a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial involving 390 patients with acute ischaemic stroke in a 3:1 ratio to receive a 14-day intravenous infusion of Ginsenoside-Rd or placebo within 72 h after the onset of stroke. Our primary end-point was the distribution of disability scores on the modified Rankin scale (mRs) at 90 days.

Results:  The efficacy analysis was based on 386 patients (Ginsenoside-Rd group: 290; placebo group: 96). Ginsenoside-Rd significantly improved the overall distribution of scores on the mRs, as compared with the placebo (P = 0.02; odds ratios [OR], 1.74; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.08–2.78). There were significant differences between the two groups when we categorized the scores into 0–1 vs. 2–5 (P = 0.01; OR, 2.32; 95% CI, 1.23–4.38; 66.8% vs. 53.1%). It also improved the National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS) at 15 days [P < 0.01; least squares mean (LSM), −0.77; 95% CI, −1.31 to −0.24]. Mortality and rates of adverse events were similar in the two groups.

Conclusions:  Ginsenoside-Rd improved the primary outcome of acute ischaemic stroke and had an acceptable adverse-event profile.