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B12 injections and year abroad in America

asdzxq profile image
16 Replies

Hi, I'm new to this forum and wondering if anyone can advice me since I can't seem to find any answers elsewhere.

I live in the UK was diagnosed with pernicious anaemia and I'm currently having b12 injections every 10 weeks. I'm looking into doing a year abroad in America, but I'm concerned about what the process is for getting injections over there. Do I have to go to a doctors over there, or what?

If anyone has any advice on going away for an extend period of time (specifically to America) it'd be great.

Thanks in advance

16 Replies
Penni profile image

My mum has friends who live in America and the difference in getting a b12 injection there to here is huge! All they have to do over there is ask and they get them for just about anything. If you're worried could you get your gp to give you a box of ampules and everything else too take with you?

Galixie profile image
Galixie in reply to Penni

Your mother's friends apparently have had a vastly different experience than most Americans. I live in the US. A doctor's prescription is required for a B12 injection here. Even the 'spas' that offer B12 injections are required to have a physician issue a prescription. Also, the most common form of B12 available in the US is cyanocobalamin. Hydroxocobalamin is theoretically available, but would probably have to be specially ordered by the doctor or pharmacy as it isn't the form that is commonly stocked. Methylcobalamin isn't generally prescribed, and is only available through compounding pharmacies (and a very few of those!)

I imagine that asdzxq could work with a pharmacy in the US to have his or her prescription transferred from the UK for the duration of the stay. Otherwise, they would need to visit a US doctor and get a prescription that way.

asdzxq profile image
asdzxq in reply to Galixie

Thanks a lot for that - definitely a lot of help!

clivealive profile image
clivealiveForum Support

Perhaps ndodge can help you asdzxq

I think they mainly use cyanocobalamin but I'm probably wrong.

I wish you well.

ndodge profile image
ndodge in reply to clivealive

Hi Clivealive,

I posted an answer to asdzxq as per your suggestion. Hope all is well with you, it's been awhile since I've posted anything! :-)

clivealive profile image
clivealiveForum Support in reply to ndodge

I'm just recovering from a nasty bout of 'flu type cold and hacking cough as we head into our winter here otherwise I'm OK thank you - hoping you are too.

Thanks for helping asdzxq - I immediately thought of you my friend.

Best regards,

ndodge profile image
ndodge in reply to clivealive

Hi Glad you are recovering- those flus can be really nasty!

I'm fine- still in shock about the election over here- worried about millions and millions of people losing health care.

I feel honored that you would call upon me to help asdzxq and add to the great suggestions that were posted.

Take care, my friend and no more colds or flu for you! :)

puncturedbicycle profile image

I researched this for my mum (who lives in the US) and it seems harder to find otc b12 (not sure if script required or if there is an alternative route eg veterinary use or similar) but easier to get your gp to give you an injection. The whole thing that got me started on b12 injections was being offered one by an American doc.

I know you can buy b12 patches otc in the US. If that is of no use to you you might need to organise a gp ahead of time. If you have a pa dx I can't imagine it would be an issue, but it might cost a bit. Generally you pay a chunk up front for the first visit but costs can often be manageable after that.

May I ask where you're planning to go and if you're going to stay in one place or if you'll be moving around?

asdzxq profile image
asdzxq in reply to puncturedbicycle

I'm not 100% where I'll end up going - it's for a job and they've yet to decide what state I'll be working in. Just thought it was important to know anyone's experiences before I accepted/declined the offer.

That doesn't sound as bad as I expected it to be though. Thanks for your help

puncturedbicycle profile image
puncturedbicycle in reply to asdzxq

If you're going to be in one place you can find a gp and ring and ask what the protocol is for setting up regular b12 injections for pa.

Get something in writing from your gp stating your dx and treatment and maybe have copies of your past test results (the one that resulted in dx might be helpful).

There are also those Doctors on Duty-style places if you won't be in the same place all the time.

I can't imagine you'd have that much trouble w a private doc, it's just a matter of paying for it. They're all up in arms about painkillers but I can't see how asking for a b12 jab when you have pa would be viewed w any suspicion or resistance.

Gambit62 profile image

If you are near the border with Canada then B12 is available over the counter in Canada.

Is your trip being arranged with a particular sponsor in which case I'd suggest you talk with them about the options.

etreas profile image

I live in the U.S. and just ordered B12 (methylcobalamin) online from this site:


Technically a prescription is required, so they have a physician call you to do a – literally 2 minute – phone screening.

ndodge profile image

Hi asdzxq,

I'm in portland Oregon in the U.S., and go to a naturopathic doctor to get methyl. My regular gp gave me Cyanocobalamin which did not work for me. Cyano is what is usually prescribed here in U.S.

If you can talk to your doc or a pharmacist about the best way to get your B12 while in America, that would be good. Paperwork showing you have PA will be important to have. With that you could go to any doctor, I would imagine, and get a prescription for B 12.

If you want hydroxocobalamin, then a compounding pharmacy would have to make that up for you. That is where I get my methyl with a prescription from the naturopath.

Probably most good sized cities have a compounding pharmacy or two. Once you know where you'll be, you could Google to find one in that area then call them/email and ask if they can make up hydroxocobalamin. And perhaps they could give you some names of naturopaths or even a gp doctor who would prescribe while you are in U.S.

Good luck with it all and if you are going to be in or near Oregon, like Washington State,( called that to differentiate it from Washington,D.C.) post again and I can give you specific info. :-)

One last thought: maybe the company you work for has a relocation counselor that can help.


Galixie profile image
Galixie in reply to ndodge

I'm glad you mentioned calling the compounding pharmacy to confirm they can make it. Very few of them are willing to burden the expense of making methylcobalamin at the moment. I'm not sure about hydroxo, as it wasn't what I was searching for at the time that I was needing to call compounding pharmacies, but I would expect it to be similarly difficult to find. However, last I checked, there was one manufacturer of hydroxocobalamin approved for sale in the US. So a compounding pharmacy might not be needed for hydroxo. It's just that it's not commonly stocked, so some extra time to get the product in would be necessary.

Btw, hi from Seattle. :)

ndodge profile image
ndodge in reply to Galixie

Howdy, neighbor! :) I asked the compounding pharmacy here in Portland - it is called Lloyd compounding pharmacy and they told me, when I inquired about making hydroxo, that they could make that up as well as the methyl that I take. But I'm sure not all compounding pharmacies are the same, so it would be good for asdzxq to call around.

Hi asdzxq, your year in USA should be great experience for you. My daughter-in-law has just done a 3 months stint in Washington, DC and loved every minute, other than being apart from her family.

Your B12 may not be a problem. You are having 10 week injections so if you have an injection just before you go that will do for the first 10 weeks of your stay and if you take with you a standard UK pack of 5 ampoules of hydroxocobalamin they will cover the next 50 weeks so you will be at 60 weeks then and hopefully back in the good old U of K and your former routine. With the unopened package including the dispensing chemist identifying it as being your medication, your repeat prescription request form and a letter from the GP you should be able to take them with you in you checked in luggage. Syringes and needles, if you self inject shouldn't be a problem to get in the USA. Just a thought, if this could come off it would save loads of hassle and you would be in command.

Best of luck, and have a great time in USA.

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