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Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome in a patient with chronic alcoholism: A case report

Author Affiliations

  • 1Department of Pharmacy Practice, The Dale View College of Pharmacy and Research Centre, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, India
  • 2Department of Pharmacy Practice, The Dale View College of Pharmacy and Research Centre, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, India
  • 3Department of Pharmacy Practice, The Dale View College of Pharmacy and Research Centre, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, India
  • 4Department of Neurology, SK Hospital, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, India

Res. J. of Pharmaceutical Sci., Volume 8, Issue (2), Pages 21-24, December,30 (2019)


Thiamine (Vitamin B1) is a cofactor for several key enzymes essential for energy metabolism. Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome (WKS) is a rare but reversible neurodegenerative disease that occur due to severe lack of thiamine. The common cause of thiamine deficiency is alcoholism. WKS may present with confusion, ataxia, hallucination, amnesia and altered vision. Brain requires continuous supply of thiamine for metabolic and synthetic purposes. Brain damage arise due to the concomitant effect of thiamine deficiency and alcohol abuse. Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome can be treated by administering intravenous thiamine up to 1g in the first 24 hours, by maintaining a balanced diet rich in vitamin B1 and also by proper hydration and support to stop drinking alcohol. In this, we report a case of male patient admitted in neurology department with history of chronic alcohol abuse and complaints of loose stools, slurring of speech, dysarthria, altered sensorium and double vision. Evaluation showed fatty liver infiltration in addition to the Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome. Neuroimaging, metabolic workup were performed and thiamine was administered in therapeutic doses with significant clinical improvement. He was discharged with oral thiamine in a functionally independent state with resolution of symptoms.


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