Hydroxocobalamin is administered by IM injection or IV infusion.
Vitamin B12, also known as cobalamin, is an important water-soluble vitamin.
It plays an essential role in the production of your red blood cells and DNA, as well as the proper functioning of your nervous system.
Vitamin B12 is naturally found in animal foods, including meats, fish, poultry, eggs and dairy. However, it can also be found in products fortified with B12, such as some varieties of bread and plant-based milk.
Unfortunately, B12 deficiency is common, especially in the elderly. You’re at risk of deficiency if you don’t get enough from your diet or aren’t able to absorb enough from the food you eat.
People at risk of a B12 deficiency include:
- The elderly
- Those who’ve had surgery that removes the part of the bowel that absorbs B12
- People on the drug metformin for diabetes
- People following a strict vegan diet
- Those taking long-term antacid drugs for heartburn
Unfortunately, symptoms of a vitamin B12 deficiency can take years to show up, and diagnosing it can be complex. A B12 deficiency can sometimes be mistaken for a folate deficiency.
Low levels of B12 cause your folate levels to drop. However, if you have a B12 deficiency, correcting low folate levels may simply mask the deficiency and fail to fix the underlying problem.
If you have a B12 deficiency, your skin may appear pale or jaundiced.
When you are deficient in B12, your body isn’t able to produce enough red blood cells to effectively transport oxygen throughout your body. This can make you feel tired and weak.
B12 plays an important role in the production of myelin, which insulates your nerves and is critical to your nervous system function. A common sign of potential nerve damage in B12 deficiency is a sensation of pins and needles.
The damage caused by long-term, untreated B12 deficiency can affect your balance and cause changes to the way you walk and move.
An early sign of B12 deficiency may be a red and swollen tongue. This condition is known as glossitis.
Anemia caused by vitamin B12 deficiency can cause some people to feel breathless and dizzy. This occurs when the body is unable to transport enough oxygen to all its cells.
In rare cases, the nervous system damage caused by a B12 deficiency can affect the optic nerve. This can result in blurred or disturbed vision.
Some people with B12 may show signs of a depressed mood or conditions characterized by a decline in brain function, such as dementia.
On very rare occasions, one symptom of B12 deficiency may be a high temperature.
Vitamin B12 deficiency is common and can present itself in various ways, making it difficult to identify.
If you’re at risk and have any of the symptoms above, speak to your doctor.
For most people, a B12 deficiency should be easy to prevent simply by ensuring you are getting enough B12 in your diet.