needle guage and self injecting - Pernicious Anaemi...

Pernicious Anaemia Society
22,776 members16,056 posts

needle guage and self injecting


Hi, I have recently been diagnosed with PA with a blood count of 50. My Drs are beyond useless and I am travelling to Portugal a lot of the time so feel I need to take matters into my own hands and self inject. But I need to know where to buy the hydroxy and what guage needles to use and where to buy them. Any advice on where to buy the items needed is much appreciated. I can get delivered to the UK but would prefer Portugal if possible. I understand it needs to be intramusclar which is OK - i guess ! again any advice much appreciated

Also does anyone know what the effects of Alcohol are on b12 ? Are you suppossed to not drink if you have a deficiency or if your taking shots ?

Thanks All

16 Replies

Most people use a wide (green) needle to draw up the solution, then swap to a thinner, shorter needle (blue) for the actual injection. Blue needles come in various sizes (they are all 23G but you can get 25mm, 38mm, 5/8", 1" and 1.5") I'd go for 1" if you have virtually no fat above the muscle and 1.5" if you have a generous coating. The needle has to pass through the skin, subcutaneous fat and penetrate a reasonable way into the muscle.

Some people do a subcutaneous injection. I've not been able to find any reason why it's better or worse. But I don't do it myself, so you'd need to get advice from somebody else.

According to this page from the old PAS forum - pernicious-anaemia-society.... - you can get hydroxocobalamin for injection over the counter.

It may be that you can only get cyanocobalamin. This should be OK, but you may need to inject more frequently than with hydroxocobalamin.

Some people may worry about the fact that it contains a cyanide molecule. This is plain scare-mongering or ignorance. The amount of cyanide in 1000 ug of cyanocobalamin (20 ug) is about the same as in 10 ml of prune juice or the smoke in one-fifth of a cigarette.

Some people have posted recently about finding that taking B12 has changed the way they react to alcohol. Thankfully, I haven't.

lifegems in reply to fbirder

Thank you for your info that's really useful. Where do you get the needles from ?

fbirder in reply to lifegems

I get mine, and 2 ml syringes, from

clivealiveForum Support

Hi lifegems glad you found your way on here.

As fbirder says if the only B12 you can get in Portugal is cyanocobalamin there's no need to worry about the cyanide content as I've been having it injected every 4 weeks for 45 years. I also enjoy a small glass of fortified wine each day.

Hi - here's my tuppenceworth! I spoke to Dr C who says there is little difference between methylcobalamine and hydroxocobalamine, but each is better than cyano - better utilised.

Also, there is little difference between intramuscular and subcutaneous injecting, other than subcutaneous is a slower, therefore longer, release into the bloodstream.

Research shows that subcutaneous does not need to be deep - indeed, the shortest needles are as good as if not better than the longer ones. This means that you can use the shortest, finest needles safely and get excellent absorption.

Therefore, I use a longer needle to draw up the hydroxo from the ampoule (ampoules bought from, in Germany - make sure you get the 1mg in 1ml dosage), and then I back-fill the 1ml, 30g insulin syringes bought from Medical World Ltd.

The gauge of the needle is the number with the 'g' after it. The higher the number the finer the needle. Thus I use 6mm hypodermics (very short needles) with a 30g needle (very fine - and virtually painless) subcutaneously. I insert the needle fully up to the head of the syringe. After the initial tickle of the needle against the skin, there's no sensation at all.

You don't need to use alcohol swabs, although I do, but let it all evaporate off the skin first and if you warm the syringe filled with the B12 first, say under your arm or in your hand, it further reduces any sting.

Hope that helps.

fbirder in reply to Schenks

Also, there is little difference between intramuscular and subcutaneous injecting, other than subcutaneous is a slower, therefore longer, release into the bloodstream.

Yes, I'd always believed that. But I could find no actual evidence for B12 itself. And other drugs showed a wide range. For some IM meant faster absorption, for other SC. The only consistent thing was that thigh muscle meant faster absorption than arm and that a high BMI meant slower SC absorption.

ndodge in reply to Schenks

You are such a pro now, Schenks! :-)

Schenks in reply to ndodge


ndodge in reply to Schenks


I get my needles from Medisave


You have my sympathy about Dr's! I have done over 400 daily jabs now and am still improving. The thought of SI is much worse than actually doing it!

Don't forget to take all the supporting supplements that are required to make the extra B12 work properly - a broad spectrum multivitamin and mineral supplement plus extra folate, potassium, magnesium and maybe iron.

I am sure all your questions have been answered, but if you do want more information, including sources of supplies, you could look up my profile, by double clicking on my name and see my post "My Experiences".

Good luck with SI: I hope you feel better soon.

I get y B12 from who are a German company. They have delivered to me in the UK and also to Spain where I am now living, so they can deliver to you in Portugal as well. My last delivery arrived with me in Spain in under a week.

Needles I get from Amazon. Green ones for drawing up the injection and blue for injecting.

Good luck.

I occasionally go out on a night out and drink

.. made no difference to me.

The insulin syringes did not work for me they didn't go deep enough.

But good luck to those where is does make a difference. I use the blue 1.5

I'm just about to consider starting SI! Helpful thread :)

Thanks to everyone that replied 😃

Annnon58 in reply to lifegems

Good luck with SI , you won’t regret it . alchahol does depleat B12 Unfortunately .

You may also like...