Pernicious Anemia - Treatments

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What is the treatment for pernicious anemia and vitamin B-12 deficiency?

The symptoms of pernicious anemia and vitamin B-12 deficiency can be treated by replenishing the vitamin B-12 supply in the body. If a condition other than pernicious anemia is responsible for vitamin B-12 deficiency, treatment must also be directed at the underlying condition. Symptoms of vitamin B-12 deficiency may be improved after just a few days of medical treatment.

Vitamin B-12 is typically given as an intramuscular injection (shot). An injection of 1000 micrograms (1 mg) of vitamin B-12 is generally given every day for one week, followed by 1 mg every week for four weeks and then 1 mg every month thereafter.

Alternative treatments for pernicious anemia include high-dose oral vitamin B-12, since a lower-efficiency absorption system for vitamin B-12 exists in the intestine that does not require the presence of IF. However, the oral dose required for this type of therapy (1 to 2 milligrams/day) is more than 200 times higher than the minimum daily vitamin B-12 requirement for adults and is significantly higher than that available in most standard multivitamins and B-12 supplements. Nasal spray and sublingual (under the tongue) preparations of vitamin B-12 are also available and are under investigation.

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Comment from: Darianakasha, Female (Patient) Published: August 19

At 14 years old i suffered constant belly cramps until the point that i couldn't walk. I was put on the pill (didn't help) eventually they either faded or I got used to them. Then a few months before my 16th birthday it all began again. The stomach cramping returned. I often found it difficult to breathe, I bruised from the smallest things like from sitting with my legs crossed (bear in mind, I'm a 5ft 45 kg female) and was getting sicker and sicker each and every week, a few weeks after turning 16 and after more blood tests then any person should have to go through in their life. I was diagnosed with pernicious anemia. Now this was unusual because I eat copious amount of everything containing b12. I have now just started b12 injections today (19/08/2013) my first injection was not good. My arm still hurts 4 hours later and I am struggling to use it.

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Comment from: 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: January 20

B-12 injections. I am African American female correctly diagnosed with Pernicious Anemia atage 23. At 14 years, Army physicians (military dependant) thought I had Iron deficiency and Rx iron supplements and eating liver. Crisis at 23, So. California Hematologist diagnosed me with PA after a 2 week hospital stay. Because of my age and visual ethnicity physicians did not think PA deficiency. Being 8th generation American, physicians did not take into consideration any European ancestry. Monthly B-12 injections have helped for over 30 years. During pregnancy and 1st year of Motherhood-additional B-12 injections were given. Occasionally, injection does not work. After entire battery of tests, another injection was administered and it worked. This happens, but rarely. During routine colonoscopy, I was informed individuals with PA have a 4 fold increase in the possibility of stomach cancer. An endoscopy preformed at the same time as colonoscopy, showed 5 stomach polyps. A biopsy of polyps proved malignant. I have had two additional endoscopies removing more polyps. GI physician says I can probably expect to have more endoscopies in the future. I have always been a-symptomatic-occasionally some parenthesia.

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