Double-blind trial of pyridoxine (vitamin B6) in the treatment of steroid- dependent asthma

S. Sur, M. Camara, A. Buchmeier, S. Morgan, H. S. Nelson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Pyridoxine has been reported to largely correct an abnormality of tryptophan metabolism present in patients with bronchial asthma and to reduce the symptoms of asthma in long-term studies. We enrolled 31 patients requiring steroids (oral or inhaled) for the treatment of their asthma in a double-blind, placebo-controlled assessment of 9 weeks' treatment with pyridoxine 300 mg per day (13) or placebo (18). Outcome variables included PEFR, FEV1, asthma symptom scores, 24 hour urinary 5-HIAA, skin test reactivity to histamine and compound 48/80 and blood serotonin levels. Plasma pyridoxine levels indicated overall patient compliance with a mean change from baseline to the end of the study of 82.5 ± 27.7 ng/mL in patients on pyridoxine and -2.9 ± 10.3 for those on placebo (P = .0001). Furthermore, patients routinely treated with theophylline had lower (10 ± 8 ng/mL) plasma pyridoxine levels at baseline than those not on it (19 ± 6 ng/mL; P = .01), suggesting that theophylline may lower plasma pyridoxine levels. There was no significant difference between the pyridoxine and placebo groups in the change from baseline to the last 2 weeks of the treatment phase in any of the outcome variables. We conclude that under the conditions of the study, treatment with oral pyridoxine failed to improve the outcome variables in patients requiring steroids for the treatment of their asthma. The results of this study suggest that prescription or usage of oral pyridoxine for the treatment of asthma cannot be justified in such patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)147-152
Number of pages6
JournalAnnals of Allergy
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1993
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy


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