Other Name(s):

2,3-dimethoxy-5-methyl-6-(10-hydroxydecyl)-1,4-benzoquinone, Hydroxydecyl Benzoquinone, Idebenona, Idébénone.


Idebenone is a man-made product similar to coenzyme Q-10.

Idebenone is used for Alzheimer's disease, liver disease, and heart disease; as well as a number of inherited disorders including Leber's disease (an eye condition), mitochondrial encephalomyopathies (nerve and muscle disorders), and Friedreich's ataxia (a nervous system disorder that worsens over time, producing gait and speech problems, and eventually leading toward heart disease and diabetes).

How does it work?

Idebenone seems to have antioxidant activity, and appears to protect a wide variety of cells from oxidative damage.


Dementia, Alzheimer's Disease, and Aging Brains See Slideshow

Uses & Effectiveness

Possibly Effective for...

  • Treating Alzheimer's disease. There's some evidence that taking idebenone slows the decline of thinking skills in people with Alzheimer's disease. Idebenone appears most effective in patients with moderately severe Alzheimer's disease.

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...

  • Friedreich's ataxia (an inherited progressive condition affecting the nerves that can lead to heart disease and diabetes). Some developing research suggests that taking idebenone may help control heart damage associated with Friedreich's ataxia. But other research hasn't shown this benefit. Idebenone does not appear to slow the progression of this condition.
  • Mitochondrial encephalomyopathies (a group of disorders that lead to muscle and nervous system problems). There is some research that suggests that taking idebenone might reduce symptoms in patients with some of these conditions.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of idebenone for these uses.

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).

Side Effects

Idebenone seems safe for most people.


One of the first symptoms of Alzheimer's disease is __________________. See Answer

Special Precautions & Warnings

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Not enough is known about the use of idebenone during pregnancy and breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.


The following doses have been studied in scientific research:


  • For Alzheimer's disease: 90-120 mg of idebenone three times daily.

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Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.


Anonymous. Idebenone - monograph. Altern Med Rev 2001;6:83-6.

Artuch R, Colome C, Vilaseca MA, et al. Monitoring of idebenone treatment in patients with Friedreich's ataxia by high-pressure liquid chromatography with electrochemical detection. J Neurosci Methods 2002;115:63-6. View abstract.

Buyse G, Mertens L, Di Salvo G, et al. Idebenone treatment in Friedreich's ataxia: neurological, cardiac, and biochemical monitoring. Neurology 2003;60:1679-81. . View abstract.

Di Prospero NA, Sumner CJ, Penzak SR, et al. Safety, tolerability, and pharmacokinetics of high-dose idebenone in patients with Friedreich ataxia. Arch Neurol 2007;64:803-8. View abstract.

Esposti MD, Ngo A, Ghelli A, et al. The interaction of Q analogs, particularly hydroxydecyl benzoquinone (idebenone), with the respiratory complexes of heart mitochondria. Arch Biochem Biophys 1996;330:395-400. View abstract.

Filla A, Moss AJ. Idebenone for treatment of Friedreich's ataxia? Neurology 2003;60:1569-70.

Geromel V, Darin N, Chretien D, et al. Coenzyme Q(10) and idebenone in the therapy of respiratory chain diseases: rationale and comparative benefits. Mol Genet Metab 2002;77:21-30. View abstract.

Gutzmann H, Hadler D. Sustained efficacy and safety of idebenone in the treatment of Alzheimer's disease: update on a 2-year double-blind multicentre study. J Neural Transm 1998;54:301-10. View abstract.

Hausse AO, Aggoun Y, Bonnet D, et al. Idebenone and reduced cardiac hypertrophy in Friedreich's ataxia. Heart 2002;87:346-9. View abstract.

Ihara Y, Namba R, Kuroda S, et al. Mitochondrial encephalomyopathy (MELAS): pathological study and successful therapy with coenzyme Q10 and idebenone. J Neurol Sci 1989;90:263-71. View abstract.

Ikejiri Y, Mori E, Ishii K, et al. Idebenone improves cerebral mitochondrial oxidative metabolism in a patient with MELAS. Neurology 1996;47:583-5. View abstract.

Lerman-Sagie T, Rustin P, Lev D, et al. Dramatic improvement in mitochondrial cardiomyopathy following treatment with idebenone. J Inherit Metab Dis 2001;24:28-34. View abstract.

Mariotti C, Solari A, Torta D, et al. Idebenone treatment in Friedreich patients: one-year-long randomized placebo-controlled trial. Neurology 2003;60:1676-9. View abstract.

Mashima Y, Hiida Y, Oguchi Y. Remission of Leber's hereditary optic neuropathy with idebenone. Lancet 1992;340:368-9. View abstract.

Pisano P, Durand A, Autret E, et al. Plasma concentrations and pharmacokinetics of idebenone and its metabolites following single and repeated doses in young patients with mitochondrial encephalomyopathy. Eur J Clin Pharmacol 1996;51:167-9. View abstract.

Rego AC, Santos MS, Oliveira CR. Influence of the antioxidants vitamin E and idebenone on retinal cell injury mediated by chemical ischemia, hypoglycemia, or oxidative stress. Free Radic Biol Med 1999;26:1405-17. View abstract.

Rustin P, von Kleist-Retzow JC, Chantrel-Groussard K, et al. Effect of idebenone on cardiomyopathy in Friedreich's ataxia: a preliminary study. Lancet 1999;354:477-9. View abstract.

Schols L, Vorgerd M, Schillings M, et al. Idebenone in patients with Friedreich ataxia. Neurosci Lett 2001;306:169-72. View abstract.

Shivaram KN, Winklhofer-Roob BM, Straka MS, et al. The effect of idebenone, a coenzyme Q analogue, on hydrophobic bile acid toxicity to isolated rat hepatocytes and hepatic mitochondria. Free Radic Biol Med 1998;25:480-92. View abstract.

Weyer G, Babej-Dolle RM, Hadler D, et al. A controlled study of 2 doses of idebenone in the treatment of Alzheimer's disease. Neuropsychobiology 1997;36:73-82. . View abstract.

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