[Treatment of chronic postinfectious fatigue: randomized double-blind study of two doses of sulbutiamine (400-600 mg/day) versus placebo]

Rev Med Interne. 1999 Oct;20(10):912-8. doi: 10.1016/s0248-8663(00)80096-x.
[Article in French]


Purpose: Chronic fatigue remains a medical mystery and a therapeutic failure. The subgroup of chronic fatigue postinfectious fatigue (CPIF) is an interesting one since it is quite frequent in general practice.

Methods: We studied sulbutiamine (Su), isobutyryl-thiamine disulfide in this context. We included 326 general-practice patients suffering from CPIF: they received randomly either Su, 400 mg daily (n = 106), or Su, 600 mg daily (n = 111), or placebo (n = 109) for 28 days in a double-blind, parallel-group study. 315 patients completed the study.

Results: The evaluation of fatigue, by multiple means including mainly MFI, a validated multidimensional fatigue scale, showed overall no significant difference between the groups. On the 7th day, however, women receiving Su, 600 mg had less fatigue (P < 0.01), but the figures were quite diverse and no persistent effect was noted at the 28th day.

Conclusion: Thus, we showed for the first time that a high level general-practice study of fatigue is feasible using specific tools. Whether the effect observed after 1 week in women represents a true finding needs additional research. Further studies are in progress in order to characterize better the potential usefulness of Su in chronic fatigue.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • English Abstract
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antidepressive Agents / administration & dosage
  • Antidepressive Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Bacterial Infections / complications
  • Chronic Disease
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Fatigue / drug therapy*
  • Fatigue / etiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Thiamine / administration & dosage
  • Thiamine / analogs & derivatives*
  • Thiamine / therapeutic use
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antidepressive Agents
  • sulbutiamine
  • Thiamine