Asthenia is the most frequent medical reason for people seeking help from their physician. In 75% of cases, the cause is functional (either reactive or psychiatric) and in 25% it is organic. In order to provide patients with rapid relief of symptoms, appropriate antiasthenic treatment should be initiated immediately, while at the same time, adequate clinical and laboratory assessments should be performed to detect the underlying cause of asthenia. Sulbutiamine, a highly lipophilic thiamine derivative, is the only antiasthenic compound known to cross the blood-brain barrier and to be selectively active on specific brain structures directly involved in asthenia. This article reviews the current knowledge on the effects of sulbutiamine in animal models and in various forms of human asthenia.
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