What are adverse reactions to thiamine for the treatment of Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome (WKS)?

Updated: May 16, 2018
  • Author: Glen L Xiong, MD; Chief Editor: David Bienenfeld, MD  more...
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Answer

Allergic/anaphylactic reactions to thiamine do occur, but it does not appear to be at a rate to justify specific concern, despite a case report in the nursing literature that appears to have impacted many hospital protocols for thiamine administration. One paper reported more than 300,000 patients treated with parental thiamine without anaphylaxis. [52]

The Royal College of Physician guidelines recommend that intravenous thiamine be given over 30 minutes. This usually involves adding the thiamine to intravenous rehydration solutions, often with a parenteral multivitamin (banana bag). However, this is an empiric recommendation and is not followed at all institutions.


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