(Efficacy of vitamin B-6 in the treatment of premenstrual syndrome: systematic review)
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A dose of no more than 100mg/day of vitamin B-6 is likely to be a benefit in treating premenstrual symptoms and premenstrual depression, say researchers in this week's BMJ. However, they warn that their findings are based on an analysis of previously conducted trials, the quality of which is uncertain and therefore the authors call for further research to corroborate their findings.
Dr Katrina Wyatt and colleagues from North Staffordshire Hospital along with Keele University set out to ascertain the efficacy of vitamin B-6 in light of recent UK government recommendations to restrict dosage. They based their study on nine published trials representing 940 women with premenstrual syndrome and found some evidence to suggest that 100mg of vitamin B-6 daily (and possibly only 50mg) seemed to be beneficial in the management of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) - it was more than two times more effective than a placebo treatment.
Wyatt et al found that the improvements in symptoms did not seem to be dose dependent and therefore conclude that there is no rationale for giving doses of vitamin B-6 in excess of 100mg/day. Excessive ingestion of the vitamin can cause nerve damage, but the authors found no conclusive evidence of neurological side effects with the doses they examined (ie less than 100mg/day).
Dr Wyatt and colleagues call for a randomised controlled trial of sufficient power and quality to compare vitamin B-6 with placebo to establish definitive recommendations for this treatment.
Dr Katrina Wyatt, Non-Clinical Lecturer in Reproductive Endocrinology, Academic Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, North Staffordshire Hospital, Stoke on Trent
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