Beriberi (Thiamine Deficiency) Medication

Updated: Feb 08, 2022
  • Author: Dieu-Thu Nguyen-Khoa, MD, FACP; Chief Editor: Romesh Khardori, MD, PhD, FACP  more...
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Medication Summary

The goals of pharmacotherapy are to correct the vitamin deficiency, reduce morbidity, and prevent complications. Suspected cases of thiamine deficiency are treated with prompt administration of parenteral thiamine; therapy continues until all symptoms of the deficiency have disappeared. Even at high concentrations, thiamine is not toxic in a person with normal renal function. Most outpatient care is targeted at delivering thiamine in a bioavailable form to rehabilitated patients.



Class Summary

Vitamins are essential for normal deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) synthesis. Thiamine pyrophosphate, the biologically active form of thiamine (vitamin B-1), acts as a coenzyme in carbohydrate metabolism through the decarboxylation of alpha ketoacids. It also takes part in the formation of glucose by acting as a coenzyme for the transketolase in the pentose monophosphate pathway.


Thiamine is used to replenish the body's stores of the coenzyme thiamine pyrophosphate. The duration of parenteral thiamine therapy depends on the symptoms of thiamine deficiency; treatment is administered until all symptoms are gone.