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David Baxter

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Vitamin B6 shows potential in tardive dyskinesia treatment
By Liam Davenport
11 December 2007
J Clin Psychiatry 2007; 68: 1648-1654

The symptoms of tardive dyskinesia (TD) appear to be effectively reduced by treatment with vitamin B6, conclude Israeli scientists.

Vitamin B6, a potent antioxidant, has been shown to participate in almost all of the proposed mechanisms associated with the appearance of TD.

Vladimir Lerner, from Be'er-Sheva Mental Health Center, and colleagues therefore conducted a 26-week, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial in which 50 inpatients with DSM-IV diagnoses of schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder and TD were randomly assigned to receive vitamin B6 1200 mg daily or placebo for 12 weeks. After a 2-week washout, the patients were switched over to the other treatment for another 12 weeks.

In all, 28 patients began with vitamin B6 treatment, while the remaining 22 were assigned to placebo. Ninety one per cent of the patients treated with vitamin B6 demonstrated clinical improvement, with 35% showing marked improvement, 30% moderate improvement, and 26% minimal improvement. In contrast, 14% of placebo-treated patients demonstrated minimal improvement, 77% showed no improvement, and 9% worsened.

There was a significant difference between the two groups in terms of the average decrease in Extrapyramidal Symptom Rating Scale (ESRS) clinical global impression score, at a reduction of 2.4 points from baseline with vitamin B6 therapy versus 0.2 points with placebo.

The average decrease in the ESRS parkinsonism subscale score was 18.5 points for vitamin B6 treatment compared with 1.4 for placebo, while the respective average decreases in the dyskinesia subscale score were 5.2 points and 0.8 points, the team notes in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry.

The researchers write: "The potential usefulness of vitamin B6 in treating TD has clinical importance, since it has only rare and transitory side effects in relatively high doses. In addition to our encouraging results, further comparative studies of vitamin B6 are necessary to prove its efficacy. In order to examine its long-term treatment effect, a longer study of vitamin B6 application is needed."

Abstract
 

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