THE VITAMIN B12 AND FOLATE PATHOLOGY INVESTIGATION
THE INVESTIGATION OF ERRORS IN PATHOLOGY TESTS
FOR VITAMIN B12 AND FOLATE DEFICIENCY
BY MEANS OF MEDICAL EXPERIMENTS
B12 AND FOLATE INFORMATION
B12 NOTES
Serum B12
Tests
Treatment
Injected B12
Sources of Information

This page contains the following sections:

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Types of Injected B12

Injected vitamin B12 is available in three chemical forms:

  • Hydroxocobalamin - marketed as NEO-CYTAMEN or NEO-B12 in Australia, NZ and UK
  • Methylcobalamin
  • Cyanocobalamin

Hydroxocobalamin

Hydroxocobalamin has the following advantages:

  • It is a natural form of cobalamin
  • Most readily available form in Australia
  • Low cost
  • Highest retention time in body
  • Does not produce cyanide within the body

Hydroxocobalamin has the following disadvantage:

  • Requires conversion, within the body, to the methyl form

Methylcobalamin

Methylcobalamin has the following advantages:

  • It is a natural form of cobalamin
  • Does not require conversion, within the body, to the methyl form
  • Does not produce cyanide within the body

Methylcobalamin has the following disadvantages:

  • Not readily available in some locations
  • Higher cost?
  • Less stable form of cobalamin

Cyanocobalamin

Cyanocobalamin has the following advantages:

  • Only available form in some locations
  • Most stable form of cobalamin

Cyanocobalamin has the following disadvantages:

  • Shorter retention time in body stores
  • Not the natural form of cobalamin
  • Requires conversion, within the body, to the biologically active methyl form
  • Conversion to the methyl form produces small quantities of cyanide; the potential for toxicity is uncertain, although experts have not advised against the use of the cyano form

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Advantages and Disadvantages of Injected B12 Treatment

Advantages of injected B12 treatment

  • Very rapid build up of body stores
  • Effective even in cases where there is no passive intestinal absorption
  • Does not depend on patient compliance
  • Provides a reliable record of treatment

Disadvantages of injected B12 treatment

  • Can be painful
  • Prescription required in some locations
  • Should not be self-administered unless patient is taught how to do so by professional
  • Risk of needle stick injury to medical staff
  • Higher cost
  • Increased risk of allergic reactions
  • Increased risk of fatal hypokalaemia

Doses and Using Injected B12

Please do not attempt to self-inject vitamin B12, unless you have been taught how to do so properly by a nurse or doctor. It is especially important that vitamin B12 must never be injected into a vein; to do so can be harmful or fatal.

For information about correct doses, as well as precautions and other essential information, read the data sheet. The NEO-CYTAMEN data sheets for Australia, NZ and the UK, references FB0P1 to FB04, can be accessed from links on the References page.

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