Published online by Cambridge University Press: 28 September 2020
The symptoms of thiamine deficiency vary considerably and asymptomatic cases; i.e., subclinical thiamine deficiency (SCTD), are known to exist. However, there is no information available on the treatment of SCTD.
We report a patient who underwent intravenous thiamine replacement therapy for about a month after being diagnosed with SCTD, but who developed SCTD again about three weeks after finishing the treatment.
The patient was a 64-year-old woman who, after starting treatment for cervical cancer, complained of anxiety and underwent an initial psychiatric examination. The psychiatric diagnosis was an adjustment disorder. Based on the possibility of SCTD complications due to her decreased appetite and weight loss, her serum thiamine concentration was measured and found to be low. Therefore, thiamine was administered intravenously for 29 days. At the end of treatment, thiamine administration was discontinued as there were no apparent neuropsychiatric symptoms or problems with appetite. Twenty-three days later, there were still no problems with appetite or neuropsychiatric symptoms, but a follow-up blood sample revealed that her serum thiamine was again below the normal range.
Currently, there is no information available regarding the diagnosis and treatment of SCTD in cancer patients. In some cases, such as this case, the deficiency recurs without any symptoms indicative of SCTD; therefore, further examination for diagnosis and treatment is necessary.