Vitamin B6 helps quell neuroleptic-induced tardive dyskinesia

WESTPORT, CT (Reuters Health) – Movement disorders brought on by neuroleptics such as chlorpromazine can be curtailed by vitamin therapy, according to Israeli researchers. As Dr. Vladimir Lerner told Reuters Health, a "daily dose of 400 mg of vitamin B6 appears to be effective in reducing symptoms of tardive dyskinesia in schizophrenic and schizoaffective patients."

Reporting in the September issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry, Dr. Lerner and colleagues at Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Be'er-Sheva, note that a number of studies had suggested that vitamin B6 might be useful in treating such neuroleptic-induced movement disorders.

To investigate, the researchers conducted a double-blind crossover trial in 15 inpatients who had schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder and met criteria for tardive dyskinesia. They were randomized to 4 weeks of placebo or treatment with vitamin B6 100 mg daily, increasing weekly in 100 mg increments to 400 mg.

Measures of parkinsonism, dystonia, and dyskinetic movement were used to assess the outcome, and the researchers found that mean scores "were significantly better in the third week of treatment with vitamin B6 than during the placebo period."

The researchers call for further investigation, but point out that the results appear to be of clinical importance, because "to date there is no other effective treatment for this troublesome and sometimes incapacitating condition."

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