Pyridoxine is also known as vitamin B6.
It does not usually cause side-effects when taken at the correct dose, but it is important that you do not take more than the dose specified on the label of the pack.
|Type of medicine||Vitamin B6|
|Used for||Pyridoxine deficiency; some types of anaemia; to prevent side-effects from some medicines|
Pyridoxine is also known as vitamin B6. Vitamins are required in small quantities to help our bodies grow, develop, and function properly. Although most people receive sufficient amounts of pyridoxine from the food they eat (good natural sources are fish, meat and potatoes), pyridoxine deficiency can sometimes occur in people who have a condition which interferes with the way food is absorbed. Other people may be at risk of pyridoxine deficiency as a result of taking some medicines - people who take isoniazid as a treatment for tuberculosis (TB) and people who take a medicine called penicillamine can be affected in particular. Pyridoxine is also prescribed for people who have a type of anaemia known as sideroblastic anaemia, and also for people who have certain metabolic disorders.
Some people buy vitamins to take as a dietary supplement. Taking extra vitamins in this way has not been shown to be of benefit for people who are able to eat a well-balanced diet, although there is some evidence to suggest that pyridoxine may help relieve the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS).
Before taking pyridoxine
To make sure this is the right treatment for you, before you start taking pyridoxine it is important that your doctor or pharmacist knows:
- If you are pregnant or breast-feeding. This is because, while you are expecting or feeding a baby, you should only take medicines on the recommendation of a doctor.
- If you are taking any other medicines. This includes any medicines you are taking which are available to buy without a prescription, such as herbal and complementary medicines.
How to take pyridoxine
- Before you start taking the tablets, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from inside the pack. It will give you more information about pyridoxine and will provide you with a list of side-effects which you may experience.
- If pyridoxine has been prescribed for you by a doctor, take it exactly as your doctor tells you to. The directions for taking the tablets will be printed on the label of the pack to remind you what the doctor said to you. You can take pyridoxine either before or after food.
- There are several different strengths of tablet available, so each time you collect a new supply it is a good idea to check the label to make sure it is the strength you are expecting. If you are unsure, ask your pharmacist to advise you.
- If you have bought pyridoxine, do not take more than 10 mg a day. The safety of taking doses higher than this as a long-term supplement has not been proved, and it is known that taking high doses of pyridoxine over a long period of time can cause damage to some nerves.
Can pyridoxine cause problems?
Along with their useful effects, most medicines can cause unwanted side-effects, although not everyone experiences them. Pyridoxine does not usually cause any problems when taken at the correct dose. If you take too many tablets for a long time, you may develop problems with your nervous system (such as tingling feelings, shooting pains, numbness, and not being able to feel pain or temperature). Speak with your doctor or pharmacist if you experience any side-effects which you think may be due to the tablets.
How to store pyridoxine
- Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
- Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.
Important information about all medicines
Never take more than the prescribed dose. If you suspect that you or someone else might have taken an overdose of this medicine, go to the accident and emergency department of your local hospital. Take the container with you, even if it is empty.
If you are having an operation or dental treatment, tell the person carrying out the treatment about any medicines you are taking.
If you buy any medicines, check with a pharmacist that they are safe to take with any other medicines you are taking.
This medicine is for you. Never give it to other people even if their condition appears to be the same as yours.
Do not keep out-of-date or unwanted medicines. Take them to your local pharmacy which will dispose of them for you.
If you have any questions about this medicine ask your pharmacist.
Further reading & references
- British National Formulary; 68th Edition (Sep 2014) British Medical Association and Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, London
Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. EMIS has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions.
Dr Hannah Gronow