Annals of African Medicine
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Year : 2007  |  Volume : 6  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 200-202

Wernicke's encephalopathy in a Nigerian with schizophrenia

1 Neurology Unit, Department of Medicine, State Specialist Hospital, Maiduguri, Nigeria
2 Federal Neuropsychiatry Hospital, Maiduguri, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
F Salawu
P. O. Box 246, Maiduguri 600001
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/1596-3519.55695

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While Wernicke's encephalopathy (WE) is a well-characterized syndrome in alcoholism and malnutrition, little is written of its prevalence or presentation in patients with psychiatric illness. We present a case of a 37-year-old Nigerian male with schizophrenia and malnutrition who presented with delirium and ophthalmoplegia. The clinical diagnosis was supported by dramatic reversal of the symptoms and signs following the administration of intravenous thiamine. Owing to the high rate of mortality and morbidity, WE should be considered in the evaluation of any patient with unexplained nystagmus, gaze palsies, gait ataxia, or confusion, especially if a condition associated with malnutrition is present. This is particularly important in psychiatric patients where the clinical history and syndrome may be obscured and treatment delayed.

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