Clinical data
ATC code N06BX02 (WHO)
Pharmacokinetic data
Biological half-life 2.5 hours
CAS Number 1098-97-1 N
PubChem (CID) 14190
ChemSpider 13561 YesY
KEGG D02160 YesY
ECHA InfoCard 100.012.864
Chemical and physical data
Formula C16H20N2O4S2
Molar mass 368.473
3D model (Jmol) Interactive image
 NYesY (what is this?)  (verify)

Pyritinol also called pyridoxine disulfide or pyrithioxine (European drug names Encephabol, Encefabol, Cerbon 6) is a semi-synthetic water-soluble analog of vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine HCl). It was produced in 1961 by Merck Laboratories by bonding 2 vitamin B6 compounds (pyridoxine) together with a disulfide bridge. Since the 1970s, it has been a prescription and OTC drug in several countries for cognitive disorders and learning disorders in children. Since the early 1990s it has been sold as a nootropic dietary supplement in the United States.


It is approved for "symptomatic treatment of chronically impaired brain function in dementia syndromes" and for "supportive treatment of sequelae of craniocerebral trauma" in various European countries, including Austria, Germany, France, Italy, Portugal, and Greece.

In France it is also approved for rheumatoid arthritis as a disease modifying drug, on the basis of the results of clinical trials.

It is not licensed for use in the United Kingdom, but in many countries it is available over the counter and is widely advertised on the internet as being for "memory disturbances." From the known sales data, it is estimated that more than 100 000 individuals in European Union countries have taken pyritinol in the past five years.


One small study, with 12 subjects given pyritinol, showed an improvement in performance on tests of reaction time, but not on memory tests.[1]

Some studies have found large doses of Pyritinol can help to reduce hangovers.[2]

Adverse effects

Adverse effects include nausea, headache,[3] and rarely allergic reaction (mild skin reactions).[4] A 2004 survey of six case reports suggested a link between pyritinol and severe cholestatic hepatitis when on several drugs for certain diseases.[5]

Other rare side effects: acute pancreatitis[6] and photoallergic eruption.[7]

See also


  1. Hindmarch I, Coleston DM, Kerr JS (1990). "Psychopharmacological effects of pyritinol in normal volunteers". Neuropsychobiology. 24 (3): 159–64. doi:10.1159/000119478. PMID 2135070.
  2. Wiese JG, Shlipak MG, Browner WS (June 2000). "The alcohol hangover". Annals of Internal Medicine. 132 (11): 897–902. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-132-11-200006060-00008. PMID 10836917.
  3. Nachbar, F; et al. (1993). "Erythema multiforme-like eruption in association with severe headache following pyritinol". Dermatology. 187 (1): 42–6.
  4. Unwanted Effects of Cosmetics and Drugs Used in Dermatology, Issue 282 By Anton C. de Groot, Johan Pieter Nater, J. Willem Weyland
  5. Maria V, Albuquerque A, Loureiro A, Sousa A, Victorino R (March 2004). "Severe cholestatic hepatitis induced by pyritinol". BMJ (Clinical Research Ed.). 328 (7439): 572–4. doi:10.1136/bmj.328.7439.572. PMC 381054Freely accessible. PMID 15001508.
  6. Straumann A, Bauer M, Pichler WJ, Pirovino M (August 1998). "Acute pancreatitis due to pyritinol: an immune-mediated phenomenon". Gastroenterology. 115 (2): 452–4. doi:10.1016/S0016-5085(98)70212-4. PMID 9679051.
  7. Tanaka M, Niizeki H, Shimizu S, Miyakawa S (October 1996). "Photoallergic drug eruption due to pyridoxine hydrochloride". The Journal of Dermatology. 23 (10): 708–9. PMID 8973037.

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