What is the role of IV glucose in the treatment of Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome (WKS)?

Updated: May 16, 2018
  • Author: Glen L Xiong, MD; Chief Editor: David Bienenfeld, MD  more...
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Administration of intravenous glucose to patients who are severely malnourished can exhaust their supply of thiamine and precipitate Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome. Thus, good practice demands administration of thiamine prior to or simultaneously with glucose infusion in patients at high risk for Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome. However, emergency care for life-threatening hypoglycemia should not be withheld for thiamine administration.

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