Alternative to Injections: Having just... - Pernicious Anaemi...

Pernicious Anaemia Society
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Alternative to Injections


Having just been diagnosed with low B12, I'm waiting for my follow up GP appointment and in the meantime been reading up on the treatment through these pages. I have a really bad needle phobia and terrified of injections, is there a tablet alternative ?

7 Replies
clivealiveForum Support

Hi Hidden if your B12 deficiency is being caused by an absorption problem with your digestion then tablets may not work sufficiently well to be of any use.

As for the injections themselves I've had more than 600 of them over the past 45 years and I can honestly say that no more than a handful have actually stung for more than a few seconds.

I don't particularly like needles but the nurses that have injected my B12 through the years have done it into the muscle behind the top of my arm and from slightly behind me so I never "see it coming" and it really is no more than a pin prick.

The best thing is don't look and relax as much as you can.

I'm not medically trained but there are others on here who will be able to give you advice.

I wish you well and hope you can overcome your phobia.


As Clivealive says tablets don't work for everyone.

The CDC in the US used to have a microsite on B12 deficiency and they recommended use of nasal sprays where people have problems with needles - this seems to be slightly more efficient - about 3% absorption as opposed to around 1% absorption with tablets and sublinguals. However, it isn't a licensed treatment in the UK - and neither are tablets/sublinguals in the case of a deficiency caused by an absorption problem.

Because of the low amount that is absorbed you need to take very high doses and it certainly isn't going to get your B12 levels up as fast as injections would.

Sometimes you can get therapies to deal with needle phobias - generally work using cognitive behaviour techniques.

Have you talked through the options with your doctor.

Hi DaiPut, as Clivealive has said, it all depends on why you have the deficiency. I too am scared of needles, so I tried the tablet form and my B12 levels continued to drop even whilst I was taking these so the best option was the injections. As odd as it seems, my Nurse suggested that I learn to inject myself with the B12 as I have to do it monthly with no end date to this, so it made more sense for me to do it at home where I could do it at a time which suited me, and I didn't have to go to the Doctors to have it done every month. At first it was horrible injecting myself, I would sit and shake for ages before doing it - but I can honestly say it is the best thing I have ever done. I wouldn't say I'm over my fear, but I am getting quicker and quicker at doing it every time, and it is over before you know it. I hope you find a way of managing your symptoms well - all the best! X


Thank you all, injections are really not an option to me but thank you for your replies

I presume you had a blood test to diagnose your B12 deficiency? I'm needle phobic and blood tests are far worse than injections! I faint regularly and can be ill for the rest of the day, but it cannot be helped. And it does get better. Not nice, but survivable.

If your low B12 is due to poor absorption or PA then the alternative to injections is a slow and painful death. I'd have the injections!


Yes had the blood tests with preparation , patches etc . Still not sure about the injections, does B12 deficiency kill you in the end?

Hi DaiPut, unfortunately yes in some cases it can. The word 'pernicious' means deadly or fatal, but this is something that would happen after quite a long period of time. Before people had B12 injections, they would die from the condition because they couldn't get enough in their body. Even without the chance of dying from PA, the B12 deficiency can cause lots of long term damage to your body such as nerve damage or some neurological issues. I don't mean to scare you by saying all of this, I'm just trying to help you understand the importance of getting the injections if you can find any way of being able to get through it. Have you tried hypnotherapy before? I have heard of lots of people using this method to control their fear of needles - it may be worth giving it a go? I really hope you feel better soon. x

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