Medical Q&As

Pernicious anaemia - regular injections?

I have been diagnosed as having pernicious anaemia. My treatment has been massive doses of intramuscular B12 injections each time the condition recurred. I'd like to know if I could have smaller doses of B12 regularly rather than large doses when my B12 levels have depleted. I'd like to prevent the symptoms of the condition occurring if possible. Also, I am in my early forties and wonder will I have to have these injections for the rest of my life?

Pernicious anaemia is due to a lack of “intrinsic factor”, which is a special compound produced in the stomach. If intrinsic factor is lacking the affected person is unable to absorb vitamin B12 even if their diet is very rich in that particular vitamin. Since the B12 cannot be absorbed when taken by mouth it is usually administered intramuscularly at regular intervals throughout the year. It is not common practice to wait for a deficiency to recur before administering further injections. You are absolutely correct in your suggestion that you should be receiving the vitamin regularly in order to prevent complications. Pernicious anaemia can have significant effects on the nervous system if not treated adequately. The condition is life-long therefore vitamin injections also need to be life-long. Once B12 is administered on a regular basis it is possible to live a healthy and full life without complications.