Serum vitamin B6 in schizophrenic and schizoaffective patients with and without tardive dyskinesia. Academic Article uri icon


  • There are several reports regarding the efficacy of vitamin B 6 in the treatment of tardive dyskinesia (TD). Vitamin B 6 plays a key role in the synthesis of several neurotransmitters, including serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine, and gamma-aminobutyric acid, all of which have been proposed to be involved in the development of TD. The purpose of this study was to examine whether there are special markers to distinguish long-term neuroleptic exposure patients who have TD from those patients who do not develop this side effect. In view of the pivotal role of vitamin B 6 in the synthesis of all neurotransmitters believed to take part in the pathogenesis of TD, we decided to examine whether basal levels of vitamin B 6 might explain the difference between these two groups. Such a finding could provide a predictive marker for vulnerable patients. The active metabolite of vitamin B 6 is pyridoxal phosphate (PP). Pyridoxal phosphate blood levels were measured in 15 schizophrenic and schizoaffective patients with TD and compared with 15 patients without evidence of TD (matched by sex, age, smoking, and diagnosis). We found that, although patients in the TD group were exposed to neuroleptic drugs for significantly longer periods of time, there were no differences in serum PP levels between the groups. The reports of the effectiveness of vitamin B 6 6 supplementation in the treatment of TD could therefore be explained by the assumption that central nervous system or intracellular vitamin B 6 levels, which are involved in the pathogenesis of TD, are not the same as vitamin B 6 peripheral serum levels. There is need for further studies, which will clarify the relationship between vitamin B 6 and TD.

publication date

  • January 1, 2000