Properties of Hydergine

1. Increases blood flow and glucose utilization in the brain.

2. Indirectly helps decrease free-radical formation.

3. Stimulates the production of the neurotransmitters norepinephrine and dopamine, which help to maintain attention and alertness (mental arousal, vigilance). These actions may account for hydergine's activating and mild mood-elevating effects, which occur in some people.

The Bottom Line on Hydergine

As you may have gathered, I am not a great fan of hydergine, and neither are most physicians these days. I think of it as a mildly activating agent in some cases, without any measurable effect on memory. The advent of vitamin E, ginkgo biloba, cholinesterase inhibitors, phosphatidylserine, and several other promemory agents has pushed hydergine far into the background. Most physicians have stopped prescribing hydergine because there are so many other treatment options. If you or someone close to you is on hydergine, note that the standard U.S. prescription dose is 3 mg per day, but in Europe doses of 9 to 12 mg per day are often prescribed without any apparent problems. In a few countries like Mexico, you can get hydergine over-the-counter. Since it is off patent, you can now get cheaper generic products even in the United States. The main advantage is that there are very few side effects with this medication. Nausea, stomach upset, and headache can rarely occur, but these symptoms tend to be mild.

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