Due to current COVID-19 we are having to temporarily suspend vitamin B12 injections. The NHS is currently under tremendous pressure. We therefore have to make some difficult decisions. The main reasons for the change are that many of our patients on B12 are at high risk and we do not want to put such patients at further risk by asking them to come and visit the practice. We are also trying to protect our own front line staff from unnecessary contact to help keep our essential services going.
All of the patients receiving vitamin B12 injections have already received the loading doses that are administered close together. Approximately 50% of the loading dose is stored in the liver for the body to use up slowly when needed. The 3 monthly injections therefore are just top ups. In other words you have plenty of B12 from the injections you have already received to last many months through this crisis.
Some patients will have had a diagnosis of pernicious anaemia. The loading doses which everyone has to begin with have effectively treated the pernicious anaemia, by flooding the body with B12, 50% of which is stored in the liver and used up as required. The 3 monthly injections which follow are simply a precaution to stop the pernicious anaemia coming back. As stated, the initial loading dose will have created sufficient levels and stores to take us though this difficult time without ill effect.
At the moment we are unable to prescribe oral (taken by mouth) vitamin B12 but it can be purchased over the counter from chemists and food supplement shops if you wish.
We appreciate your understanding through this difficult time.