Health Guide

Vitamin b6

What is it?

Vitamin B6 is an essential vitamin. Supplements are used to treat problems caused by not having enough vitamin B6 in the body. Vitamin B6 supplements may also be used to treat carpal tunnel syndrome and nausea and vomiting related to pregnancy.

Other names for vitamin B6 include: pyridoxal hydrochloride and pyridoxine.

Ask your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist if you need more information about this medicine or if any information in this leaflet concerns you.

Before Using:

Tell your doctor if you

  • are taking medicine or are allergic to any medicine (prescription or over-the-counter (OTC) or dietary supplement).
  • are pregnant or plan to become pregnant while using this medicine.
  • are breastfeeding.
  • have any other health problems, such as high blood pressure or heart or blood vessel disease.


Talk with your caregiver about how much vitamin B6 you should take. The amount depends on the strength of the medicine and the reason you are taking vitamin B6. If you are using this medicine without instructions from your caregiver, follow the directions on the medicine bottle. Do not take more medicine or take it more often than the directions tell you to.

To store this medicine:

Keep all medicine locked up and away from children. Store medicine away from heat and direct light. Do not store your medicine in the bathroom, near the kitchen sink, or in other damp places. Heat or moisture may cause the medicine to break down and not work the way it should work. Throw away medicine that is out of date or that you do not need. Never share your medicine with others.

Drug and Food Interactions:

Do not take vitamin B6 without talking to your doctor first if you are taking:

  • Altretamine (Hexalen(R)) (12)
  • Hydralazine (Apresoline(R)) (2)
  • Isoniazid (Laniazid(R), Nydrazid(R)) (18)
  • Levodopa (Dopar(R), Larodopa(R), Sinemet(R)) (2,13-17)
  • Penicillamine (Cuprimine(R), Depen(R)) (2)


  • Before taking vitamin B6, tell your doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • This medicine may make your skin more sensitive to sunlight. Use a sunscreen when you are outdoors. Avoid sunlamps and tanning beds (11).

Side Effects:

Call your doctor right away if you have any of these side effects:

  • Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in your face or hand, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing, or rash

Other Side Effects:

You may have the following side effects, but this medicine may also cause other side effects. Tell your doctor if you have side effects that you think are caused by this medicine.

  • Clumsiness (2)
  • Nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite (4)
  • Numbness, tingling, or burning pain in your hands, arms, legs, or feet (19-22)


1. National Research Council: Vitamin B6. Recommended Dietary Allowances, 10th ed. National Academy Press, Washington, DC; 1998.

2. Anon: Vitamin supplements. Med Lett Drugs Ther 1985; 27:66-68.

3. Briggs GG, Freeman RK & Yaffe SJ: Drugs in Pregnancy and Lactation: A Reference Guide to Fetal and Neonatal Risk, 3rd ed. Williams & Wilkins, Baltimore, MD; 1990.

4. Ross JB & Moss MA: Relief of the photosensitivity of erythropoietic protoporphyria by pyridoxine. J Am Acad Dermatol 1990; 22:340-342.

5. AMA: Drug Evaluations Subscription, vol.3. American Medical Association, Chicago, IL; 1990.

6. Ellis JM, Azuma J, Watanabe T et al: Survey and new data on treatment with pyridoxine of patients having a clinical syndrome including the carpal tunnel and other defects. Re Commun Chem Pathol Pharmacol 1977; 17(1): 165-177.

7. Bennink HJ, Schreurs WH: Improvement of oral glucose tolerance in gestational diabetes by pyridoxine. BMJ 1975; 2(5974): 13-15.

8. Solomon L & Cohen K: Erythrocyte oxygen transport and metabolism and effects of vitamin B6 therapy in type II diabetes mellitus. Diabetes 1989; 38(7): 881-886.

9. Vutyavanich T, Wongtra-Ngan S & Ruangsri R: Pyridoxine for nausea and vomiting of pregnancy: a randomized, double blind, placebo-controlled trial. Am J Obstet Gynecol 1995; 173(3 pt 1): 881-884.

10. Kroll JS: Pyridoxine for neonatal seizures: an unexpected danger. Dev Med Child Neurol 1985; 27: 369-382.

11. Mulrow JP, Mulrow CD & McKenna WJ: Pyridoxine and amiodarone-induced photosensitvity. Ann Intern Med 1985; 103(1): 68-69.

12. Product Information: Hexalen(R), altretamine. U.S. Bioscience, Inc., West Conshohocken, PA, 1999.

13. Mars H: Levodopa, carbidopa, and pyridoxine in Parkinson disease. Metabolic interactions. Arch Neurol 1974; 30(6):444-447.

14. Hsu TH, Bianchine JR, Preziosi TJ et al: Effect of pyridoxine on levodopa metabolism in normal and parkinsonian subjects. Proc Soc Exp Biol Med 1973; 143(2):578-581.

15. Papavasiliou PS, Cotzias GC, Duby SE et al: Levodopa in parkinsonism: potentiation of central effects with a peripheral inhibitor. N Engl J Med 1972; 286(1):8-14.

16. Leon AS, Spiegel HE, Thomas G et al: Pyridoxine antagonism of levodopa in parkinsonism. JAMA 1971; 218(13):1924-1927.

17. Yahr MD & Duvoisin RC: Pyridoxine, levodopa and l-methyldopa hydrazine regimen in parkinsonism. JAMA 1971; 216:2141.

18. Snider DE: Pyridoxine supplementation during isoniazid therapy. Tuber Lung Dis 1980; 61(4):191-196.

19. Bender DA: Vitamin B6 requirements and recommendations. Eur J Clin Nutr 1989; 43(5):289-309.

20. Dalton K & Dalton MJ: Characteristics of pyridoxine overdose neuropathy syndrome. Acta Neurol Scand 1987; 76(1):8-11.

21. Parry GJ & Bredesen DE: Sensory neuropathy with low-dose pyridoxine. Neurology 1985; 35(10):1466-1468.

22. Schaumburg H, Kaplan J, Windebank A et al: Sensory neuropathy from pyridoxine abuse. N Engl J Med 1983; 309(8):445-448.

Last Updated: 6/4/2018
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