From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Skeletal formula of sulbutiamine
Space-filling model of the sulbutiamine molecule
Clinical data
Synonyms Arcalion
AHFS/ International Drug Names
Routes of
ATC code
Pharmacokinetic data
Biological half-life 5 hours
Excretion Renal
CAS Number
  • 3286-46-2 N
PubChem CID
  • 71124
  • 16736830 YesY
  • 42NCM1BW43
  • D01319 YesY
ECHA InfoCard 100.019.944
Chemical and physical data
Formula C32H46N8O6S2
Molar mass 702.89 g/mol
3D model (JSmol)
  • Interactive image
 NYesY (what is this?)  (verify)

Sulbutiamine (brand name: Arcalion) is a synthetic derivative of thiamine (vitamin B1). It is used in France to treat symptoms of weakness or fatigue, but there is not good data to support this. It is sold as a dietary supplement. Sulbutiamine was discovered in Japan as part of an effort to develop more useful thiamine derivatives.

Medical use

Sulbutiamine is used to treat asthenia (symptoms of fatigue or weakness) in France.[1] It is not clear if it is effective.[2]

Adverse effects

Adverse effects in clinical trials have included diarrhea, bladder infections, bronchitis, arthritic pain, back pain, asthma, abdominal pain, insomnia, constipation, gastroenteritis, diffuse pain, sinusitis, headache, kidney pain, vertigo, and sore throat.[3]



Efforts to develop thiamine derivatives with better bioavaiability than thiamine were conducted in the 1950s, mainly in Japan. These efforts led to the discovery of allicin (diallyl thiosulfinate) in garlic, which became a model for medicinal chemistry efforts to create other thiamine disulfides. The results included sulbutiamine, fursultiamine (thiamine tetrahydrofurfuryl disulfide) and benfothiamine. These compounds are hydrophobic, easily pass from the intestines to the bloodstream, and are reduce to thiamine by cysteine or glutathione.[4]:302[5]

It was first marketed in France by Servier in 1973 under the brand name Arcalion. The drug registration went through a validation procedure in France in the 1980s, which found that the use for treatment of fatigue was not supported by data.[2]

Society and culture

The French government does not pay for prescriptions of sulbutiamine.[1][2]

Sulbutiamine is sold as a dietary supplement; it appears that endurance athletes may use it to try to enhance their performance.[6]

It is also used as a nootropic dietary supplement; in 2014 the UK Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Agency seized a shipment of nooptropics worth around £200,000 that included sulbutiamine.[7]


Because thiamine deficiency causes problems with memory and other cognitive functions, thiamine and analogs like sulbutiamine have been studied in clinical trials in the 1980s and 1990s for age-associated cognitive decline.[8]

Sulbutiamine has been explored in clinical trials as a potential treatment for chronic fatigue syndrome.[3]

The pharmacology of subutiamine has been studied in various mice and rats; as of 2014 it appeared that subutiamine might be more effective than in raising thiamine phosphate levels in the brain than benfotiamine and fursultiamine, but this was not certain.[4]:303

See also


  1. ^ a b "Fiche info - Araclion 200 mg" (in French). Base de données publique des médicaments: ANSM of HAS et UNCAM. Retrieved 28 January 2018. 
  2. ^ a b c Rane, Wishvas (1997). "High Cost, Low Efficiency Medicines". Economic and Political Weekly. 32 (51): 3251–3251. JSTOR 4406199. 
  3. ^ a b Alraek, T; Lee, MS; Choi, TY; Cao, H; Liu, J (7 October 2011). "Complementary and alternative medicine for patients with chronic fatigue syndrome: a systematic review". BMC complementary and alternative medicine. 11: 87. doi:10.1186/1472-6882-11-87. PMC 3201900Freely accessible. PMID 21982120. 
  4. ^ a b Bettendorff, Lucien (2014). "Chapter 7 - Thiamine". In Zempleni, Janos; Suttie, John W.; Gregory, Jesse F.; Stover, Patrick J. Handbook of vitamins (Fifth edition ed.). Hoboken: CRC Press. pp. 267–324. ISBN 9781466515574. 
  5. ^ Volvert ML, Seyen S, Piette M, Evrard B, Gangolf M, Plumier JC, Bettendorff L (2008). "Benfotiamine, a synthetic S-acyl thiamine derivative, has different mechanisms of action and a different pharmacological profile than lipid-soluble thiamine disulfide derivatives". BMC Pharmaco. 8: 10. doi:10.1186/1471-2210-8-10. PMC 2435522Freely accessible. PMID 18549472. 
  6. ^ Kazlauskas, R (2010). "Advances in sports drug testing: an overview". Drug testing and analysis. 2 (11-12): 523–5. doi:10.1002/dta.251. PMID 21204284.  open access publication – free to read
  7. ^ "Record seizure of experimental "smart drugs" in UK". Reactions Weekly. 1526 (1): 4–4. 8 November 2014. doi:10.1007/s40278-014-4651-7. 
  8. ^ Riedel, WJ; Jolles, J (April 1996). "Cognition enhancers in age-related cognitive decline". Drugs & aging. 8 (4): 245–74. PMID 8920174. 
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