CLINICIAN ALERT: PATIENTS SUCCESSFULLY TREATED WITH BENFOTIAMINE FOR ALCOHOLIC POLYNEUROPATHY MAY ALSO EXPERIENCE IMPROVED COGNITIVE FUNCTION
Thiamine (Vitamin B1) deficiency is a well-known and well-documented consequence of chronic alcohol consumption. This results in impaired neuronal functioning expressed in the peripheral nervous system as peripheral neuropathy and in the central nervous system as deficits affecting mood and cognition. Thiamine, a water-soluble vitamin, is absorbed from the intestines primarily via the actions of thiamine transporter molecules located in the intestinal lining. These transporter molecules have been shown in animal models to be impaired by chronic alcohol exposure. Poor nutrition may be a factor, as well, in thiamine deficiency among alcoholics.
Clinicians have noted that patients who have been successfully treated with benfotiamine for the symptoms of alcoholic polyneuropathy may claim an improved ability to concentrate. This is consistent with studies showing that the reversal of thiamine deficiency with benfotiamine in alcoholics may improve peripheral and central neurological function.