Sensory neuropathy from pyridoxine abuse. A new megavitamin syndrome

N Engl J Med. 1983 Aug 25;309(8):445-8. doi: 10.1056/NEJM198308253090801.


We describe seven adults who had ataxia and severe sensory-nervous-system dysfunction after daily high-level pyridoxine (vitamin B6) consumption. Four were severely disabled; all improved after withdrawal. Weakness was not a feature of this condition, and the central nervous system was clinically spared. Although consumption of large doses of pyridoxine has gained wide public acceptance, this report indicates that it can cause sensory neuropathy or neuronopathy syndromes and that safe guidelines should be established for the use of this widely abused vitamin.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Edema / drug therapy
  • Gait
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Orthomolecular Therapy / adverse effects*
  • Peripheral Nervous System Diseases / chemically induced*
  • Peripheral Nervous System Diseases / pathology
  • Pyridoxine / administration & dosage
  • Pyridoxine / adverse effects*
  • Sensation*
  • Substance-Related Disorders*
  • Syndrome


  • Pyridoxine