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Why Do Medical Doctors Not Want to Give B12 Shots?

by
author image Maria Warren, R.N.
A registered nurse, Maria Warren has worked as a professional health writer since 2006. She holds a Bachelor of Science in nursing from Salem State College and a Master of Public Health in nutrition from Tufts University. Warren is currently working toward a nurse practitioner license.
Why Do Medical Doctors Not Want to Give B12 Shots?
Avoid receiving vitamin B-12 shots if you are allergic to any ingredients in the vitamin supplements. Photo Credit IPGGutenbergUKLtd/iStock/Getty Images

Vitamin B-12 helps maintain the health of your metabolism, red blood cells and nerves. When you have a vitamin B-12 deficiency, your doctor might prescribe vitamin B-12 shots, especially if you have an intestinal disorder that prevents the proper absorption of the vitamin. Your doctor might avoid giving you vitamin B-12 shots if you have allergies or certain medical conditions.

Allergies

If you are allergic to cobalamin, cobalt or any ingredients in vitamin B-12 shots, inform your doctor before the vitamin is prescribed. Your doctor most likely will avoid prescribing vitamin B-12 shots to prevent a severe life-threatening allergic reaction. Seek immediate medical attention if you develop symptoms of an allergic reaction while on vitamin B-12 therapy, including breathing problems, wheezing, shortness of breath, hives, or swelling of the face, tongue and throat.

Leber's Disease

Your doctor might avoid prescribing vitamin B-12 shots if you have Leber's disease, an inherited eye disorder that causes damage to nerves in the eye, according to Drugs.com. If you take vitamin B-12 when you have Leber's disease, you might develop permanent optic nerve damage and blindness. Avoid taking OTC vitamin B-12 without consulting your doctor.

Polycythemia Vera

Your doctor also might avoid prescribing vitamin B-12 shots if you have a blood disorder called polycythemia vera, according to Drugs.com. Polycythemia vera occurs when there is an increased production of red blood cells in your body, which leads to increased blood thickness. Vitamin B-12 might worsen polycythemia vera because it stimulates production of red blood cells.

Administration

Vitamin B-12 injections are available as a liquid that usually is injected into deep muscles in your body. The shots usually are administered at the doctor's office. If B-12 deficiency is severe, you will receive B-12 shots once a day for six to seven days. When you begin to improve, the shots might be administered every two weeks or once a month. Attend all your doctor's appointments to receive vitamin B-12 shots to prevent developing complications such as permanent spinal cord damage.

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