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Thiamine (Vitamin B1)

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Why is this medication prescribed?

Thiamine, also known as vitamin B1, is prescribed for various medical conditions related to thiamine deficiency. Thiamine plays a crucial role in energy metabolism and is necessary for the proper functioning of nerves, muscles, and the heart. Some common reasons for prescribing thiamine include:

  • Beriberi: A condition caused by thiamine deficiency, characterized by weakness, nerve damage, and heart issues.
  • Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome: This condition is often seen in chronic alcoholics and is characterized by neurological symptoms such as confusion, memory problems, and difficulty with muscle coordination. Thiamine supplementation is a critical part of treatment.
  • Malnutrition: Thiamine deficiency can occur in individuals with poor dietary intake, malabsorption syndromes, or certain medical conditions that impair thiamine absorption.
  • Hyperemesis gravidarum: Severe nausea and vomiting during pregnancy can lead to thiamine deficiency, and supplementation may be necessary in such cases.

How should this medicine be used?

Thiamine is usually taken orally, either in tablet, capsule, or liquid form. The dosage and frequency of administration depend on the individual’s age, medical condition, and severity of thiamine deficiency. It’s typically taken with meals to aid absorption. In severe cases of thiamine deficiency or when the patient cannot take oral medication, thiamine may be administered intravenously under medical supervision.

It’s essential to follow the prescribed dosage and schedule provided by the healthcare provider. Taking thiamine as directed can help alleviate symptoms and prevent complications associated with thiamine deficiency. If you have any questions or concerns about thiamine supplementation, it’s best to consult with a healthcare professional for personalized advice.

Other uses for this medicine

Some of these off-label uses may include:

  • Cognitive Function: Some research suggests that thiamine supplementation may support cognitive function and reduce the risk of cognitive decline, particularly in older adults.
  • Heart Health: Thiamine has been studied for its potential role in supporting heart health and reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases. However, more research is needed to establish definitive benefits.
  • Digestive Health: Thiamine may be beneficial for individuals with certain digestive disorders, such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) or Crohn’s disease, as it helps in the metabolism of carbohydrates and energy production.

What special precautions should I follow?

As with any medication or supplement, there are special precautions to consider when using thiamine:

  • Allergies: Inform your healthcare provider if you have any known allergies to thiamine or any other ingredients in thiamine supplements.
  • Pregnancy and breastfeeding: Thiamine is generally considered safe for use during pregnancy and breastfeeding when taken at recommended doses. However, it’s essential to consult with a healthcare provider before starting any new medication or supplement during pregnancy or breastfeeding.
  • Interactions: Thiamine supplements may interact with certain medications, including antacids, diuretics, and some antibiotics. Inform your healthcare provider about all medications, supplements, and herbal products you are taking to avoid potential interactions.
  • Medical conditions: If you have any underlying medical conditions, such as kidney disease or heart failure, it’s crucial to discuss with your healthcare provider whether thiamine supplementation is appropriate for you and if any dosage adjustments are necessary.
  • Monitoring: Regular monitoring of thiamine levels may be necessary in certain situations, such as chronic alcoholism or malabsorption syndromes, to ensure adequate supplementation and prevent deficiency-related complications.

Always follow your healthcare provider’s instructions and recommendations regarding the use of thiamine supplements to ensure safe and effective treatment. If you experience any adverse effects or have concerns about thiamine supplementation, consult with your healthcare provider for guidance.

What special dietary instructions should I follow?

Special dietary instructions for thiamine typically involve consuming a balanced diet that includes foods rich in thiamine, such as:

  • Whole grains: Brown rice, oats, barley, and whole wheat products are good sources of thiamine.
  • Legumes: Beans, lentils, and peas are rich in thiamine.
  • Nuts and seeds: Almonds, sunflower seeds, and flaxseeds contain thiamine.
  • Lean meats: Pork, beef, and poultry provide thiamine.
  • Fish: Salmon, trout, and tuna are sources of thiamine.

What should I do if I forget a dose?

If you forget to take a dose of thiamine, take it as soon as you remember. However, if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose, skip the missed dose and continue with your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one. If you are unsure about what to do, consult your healthcare provider or pharmacist for guidance.

What side effects can this medication cause?

Thiamine is generally considered safe when taken at recommended doses. However, like any medication or supplement, thiamine may cause side effects in some individuals. Common side effects of thiamine supplementation may include:

  • Upset stomach: Some people may experience gastrointestinal discomfort, such as nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea, when taking thiamine supplements.
  • Allergic reactions: In rare cases, thiamine supplements may cause allergic reactions, such as hives, itching, or difficulty breathing. Seek immediate medical attention if you experience any signs of an allergic reaction after taking thiamine.
  • Injection site reactions: If thiamine is administered intravenously or intramuscularly, there may be localized reactions at the injection site, such as pain, redness, or swelling.
  • Low blood pressure: In rare cases, high doses of thiamine given intravenously may cause a drop in blood pressure.
  • Skin reactions: Some individuals may develop skin rashes or itching as a reaction to thiamine supplementation.

It’s important to note that these side effects are relatively uncommon, and most people tolerate thiamine supplementation well. If you experience any persistent or severe side effects while taking thiamine, contact your healthcare provider for further evaluation and advice. Additionally, inform your healthcare provider about any other medications or supplements you are taking, as interactions may occur.

What should I know about storage and disposal of this medication?

When it comes to the storage and disposal of thiamine:


  • Store thiamine supplements at room temperature away from moisture and heat.
  • Keep thiamine out of reach of children and pets.
  • Do not store thiamine in the bathroom or near the kitchen sink where it might get exposed to moisture.


  • Dispose of expired or unused thiamine supplements according to local regulations or guidelines.
  • Do not flush thiamine supplements down the toilet or pour them down the drain unless instructed to do so by local waste management authorities.
  • Follow any specific disposal instructions provided by your pharmacist or healthcare provider.

In case of emergency/overdose

In case of emergency or overdose of thiamine:

  • If you suspect an overdose of thiamine, contact your local poison control center or seek emergency medical attention immediately.
  • Overdose symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, rapid heartbeat, sweating, and flushing.
  • Provide the medical personnel with information about the amount of thiamine ingested and any other relevant details.

What other information should I know?

  • Follow the dosage instructions provided by your healthcare provider or pharmacist carefully.
  • Inform your healthcare provider about any other medications, supplements, or herbal products you are taking, as they may interact with thiamine.
  • Attend regular follow-up appointments with your healthcare provider to monitor your response to thiamine supplementation and adjust the dosage if necessary.
  • If you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or planning to become pregnant, consult with your healthcare provider before starting thiamine supplementation.
  • Do not change your thiamine dosage or stop taking thiamine without consulting your healthcare provider.

It’s essential to communicate openly with your healthcare provider about any questions or concerns you may have regarding thiamine supplementation to ensure safe and effective treatment.

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