Hidden in the Rash - Alcoholic Pellagra Encephalopathy


  • M D Praveen Das Consultant Psychiatrist, Victorian Institute of Forensic Mental Health (Forensicare), Fairfield, Melbourne, Australia
  • Sheena Varughese Assistant Professor Department of Psychiatry, Pushpagiri Medical College, Thiruvalla, India
  • Mithun S Acharya Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry, Srinivas Institute of Medical Sciences, Mangalore, India
  • Chandrashekar B Huded Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry, Gulbarga Institute of Medical Sciences, India




Pellagra, Encephalopathy, Alcohol withdrawal


Pellagra Encephalopathy is a recognised medical condition due to niacin deficiency. Patients with alcohol dependence invariably have vitamin deficiencies, including niacin. Pellagra Encephalopathy can be challenging to diagnose alongside withdrawal delirium. Diarrhoea, skin rashes, memory and attention deficits, paraesthesia and proximal muscle weakness were noted in four patients diagnosed with delirium tremens. Atypical features such as cognitive and neurological deficits were understood as the presentation of pellagra encephalopathy. The presence of neuro-cognitive symptoms in addition to typical dermatological presentation guided consideration of pellagra encephalopathy comorbid with delirium due to alcohol withdrawal. Subtle neurological symptoms indicative of pellagra encephalopathy may be overlooked in patients with delirium.


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How to Cite

Praveen Das, . M. D., Varughese, S., Acharya, M. S. ., & Huded, C. B. . (2021). Hidden in the Rash - Alcoholic Pellagra Encephalopathy. Kerala Journal of Psychiatry, 34(1), 60–63. https://doi.org/10.30834/KJP.34.1.2021.247



Case Report