Other Name(s):

[(E)-4-[(4-amino-2-methyl-pyrimidin-5-yl)methyl-formyl-amino]-3-[[(E)-2-[(4-amino-2-methylpyrimidin-5-yl)methyl-formylamino]-5-(2-methylpropanoyloxy)pent-2-en-3-yl]disulfanyl]-pent-3-enyl]-2-methylpropanoate, 2-Isobutyryl-thiamine Disulfide, Bis(2-(isobutyryloxy)ethyl-1-N-((4-amino-2-methylpyrimidin-5-yl)methyl)formamido-2-propene-1-yl)disulfide; O-Isobutyrylthiamine Disulfide, Bisibuthiamine, Bisibutiamin, Bisibutiamine, Sulbuthiamine, Sulbutiamin, Sulbutiamina, Sulbutiamine, Sulbutiaminum, Vitaberin.


Sulbutiamine is man-made chemical similar to the B vitamin thiamine. Unlike thiamine, which dissolves in water, sulbutiamine dissolves in fats. Sulbutiamine is able to increase thiamine levels in the brain, and thought to be used as a stimulant in athletes.

People take sulbutiamine by mouth for Alzheimer's disease, weakness, athletic performance, depression, diabetic nerve damage, erectile dysfunction, fatigue, and memory.

How does it work?

It is not fully understood how sulbutiamine works. However, it seems to have various effects on the brain that might improve memory and reduce feelings of weakness.


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Uses & Effectiveness

Possibly Ineffective for...

  • Fatigue caused by an infection. Early research suggests that taking sulbutiamine daily in addition to standard care for an infection over 15 days seems to help reduce weakness and fatigue in people with an infection. However, fatigue does not seem to improve when sulbutiamine is taken for longer periods of time. Other research shows that taking sulbutiamine daily for 28 days does not improve fatigue in people with an infection.

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...

  • Alzheimer's disease. Early research suggests that taking sulbutriamine by mouth for 3 months improves attention in people with early stage Alzheimer's disease. When it is combined with the anti-Alzheimer's drug donepezil (Aricept) for 3 months, it might also improve memory.
  • Depression. Research suggests that taking sulbutriamine daily for 4 weeks improves one aspect of depression called psycho-behavioral inhibition, but no other measurements of depression.
  • Diabetic nerve pain. Research suggests that taking sulbutiamine (Arcalion) daily for 6 weeks improves how well nerves work in people with nerve damage caused by diabetes. However, it does not seem to improve symptoms of diabetic nerve pain in these patients.
  • Erectile dysfunction (ED). Early evidence shows that taking sulbutiamine for 30 days improves erectile dysfunction in 16 out of 20 men.
  • Fatigue related to multiple sclerosis (MS). Early evidence suggests that taking sulbutiamine for 6 months improves fatigue related to multiple sclerosis.
  • Weakness.
  • Athletic performance.
  • Memory.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate sulbutiamine for these uses.

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).

Side Effects

Sulbutiamine is POSSIBLY SAFE when taken by mouth appropriately, short-term. A dose of 600 mg daily has been used safely for up to 4 weeks. A small number of people taking sulbutiamine have reported nausea, headache, tiredness, and inability to sleep.

There isn't enough reliable information available about sulbutiamine to know if it is safe to use long-term.


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Special Precautions & Warnings

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There is not enough reliable information about the safety of taking sulbutiamine if you are pregnant or breast feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Psychiatric disorders: People with certain psychiatric disorders, including bipolar disorder, may be more likely to abuse drugs. These individuals may be more likely to abuse sulbutiamine. Until more is known about sulbutiamine, people with psychiatric disorders should use sulbutiamine cautiously. These patients should not discontinue use of their prescribed treatments.


The appropriate dose of sulbutiamine depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for sulbutiamine (in children/in adults). Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.

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Perello, C. Sulbutiamine in the treatment of chronic fatigue in multiple sclerosis. 21st Congress of the European Committee for the Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis: 10th Annual Meeting of the Americas Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis. Quality of Life. Sept. 29, 2005.

Bettendorff L, Weekers L, Wins P, et al. Injection of sulbutiamine induces an increase in thiamine triphosphate in rat tissue. Biochem Pharmacol. 1990;40(11):2557-60. View abstract.

Bizot J, Herpin A, Pothion S, et al. Chronic treatment with sulbutiamine improves memory in an object recognition task and reduces some amnesic effects of dizocilpine in a spatial delayed-non-match-to-sample task. Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 2005;29(6):928-35. View abstract.

Dmitriev D, Gamidov S, Permiakova O. [Clinical efficacy of the drug enerion in the treatment of patients with psychogenic (functional) erectile dysfunction]. Urologiia. 2005;(1):32-5. View abstract.

Douzenis A, Michopoulos I, Lykouras L. Sulbutiamine, an 'innocent' over the counter drug, interferes with therapeutic outcomes of bipolar disorder. World J Biol Psychiatry. 2006;7(3):183-5. View abstract.

Fujihira E, Tarumoto Y, Ajioka M, Mori T, Nakazawa M. [Analgesic effect of o-isobutyrylthiamine disulfide on experimentally induced pain]. Yakugaku Zasshi. 1973 Mar;93(3):388-91. View abstract.

Garcia-Rill E, Kezunovic N, Hyde J, et al. Coherence and frequency in the reticular activating system (RAS). Sleep Med Rev. 2013;17(3):227-38. View abstract.

Hills J. The Effect of Thiamine Tetrahydrofurfuryl Disulfide on Operant Learning, Social Behavior, Activity, Prepulse Inhibition of Acoustic Startle, and Auditory Brainstem Response Threshold in the DBA/2J Mouse. ProQuest. 2009.

Kiew K, Wan Mohamad W, Ridzuan A, et al. Effects of sulbutiamine on diabetic polyneuropathy: an open randomized controlled study in type 2 diabetics. Malays J Med Sci. 2002;9(1):21-7. View abstract.

Loo H, Poirier M, Ollat H, et al. [Effects of subutiamine (Arcalion 200) on psycho-behavioral inhibition in major depressive episodes]. Encephale. 2000;26(2):70-5. View abstract.

Micheau J, Durkin T, Destrade C, et al. Chronic administration of sulbutiamine improves long term memory formation in mice: possible cholinergic mediation. Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 1985;23(2):195-8. View abstract.

Ollat H, Laurent B, Bakchine S, et al. [Effects of the association of sulbutiamine with an acetylcholinesterase inhibitor in early stage and moderate Alzheimer disease]. Encephale. 2007;33(2): 211-5. View abstract.

Shah S. Adjuvant role of vitamin B analogue (sulbutiamine) with anti-infective treatment in infection associated asthenia. J Assoc Physicians India. 2003;51:891-5. View abstract.

Sobolevsky T, Rodchenkov G. Sulbutiamine in sports. Drug Test Anal. 2010;2(11-12):643-6. View abstract.

Tiev K, Cabane J, Imbert J. [Treatment of chronic postinfectious fatuge: randomized double-blind study of two doses of sulbutiamine (400-600 mg/day) versus placebo]. Rev Med Interne. 1999;20(10):912-8. View abstract.

Trovero F, Gobbi M, Weil-Fuggaza, et al. Evidence for a modulatory effect of sulbutiamine on glutamatergic and dopaminergic cortical transmissions in the rat brain. Neurosci Lett. 2000;292(1):49-53. View abstract.

Van Reeth O. Pharmacologic and therapeutic features of sulbutiamine. Drugs Today (Barc). 1999;35(3):187-92. View abstract.

Volvert M, Seven S, Piette M, et al. Benfotiamine, a synthetic S-acyl thiamine derivative, has different mechanisms of action and a different pharmacological profile than lipid-soluble thiamine disulfide derivatives. BMC Pharmacol. 2008;8:10. View abstract.

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