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Vitamin B12 deficiency

Also known as Cobalamin Deficiency and Cyanocobalamin Deficiency

Vitamin B12 deficiency or hypocobalaminemia is a low blood level of vitamin B12. It can cause permanent damage to nervous tissue if left untreated longer than 6 months. Vitamin B12 itself was discovered through investigation of pernicious anemia, which is an autoimmune disease that destroys parietal cells in the stomach that secrete intrinsic factor. Pernicious anemia, if left untreated, is usually fatal within three years. Once identified, however, the condition can be treated successfully and with relative ease, although it cannot be cured and ongoing treatment is required. Humans obtain almost all of their vitamin B12 from dietary means. Pernicious anemia is usually the result of insufficient secretion of intrinsic factor within the stomach. Other more subtle types of vitamin B12 deficiency have been elucidated, including the biochemical effects, over the course of time in significant numbers.

Source: Wikipedia

What are the symptoms?

Within all the people who go to their doctor with vitamin b12 deficiency, 36% report having fatigue, 14% report having disturbance of memory, and 14% report having paresthesia. The symptoms that are highly suggestive of vitamin b12 deficiency are abnormal appearing tongue, although you may still have vitamin b12 deficiency without those symptoms.


What might my doctor prescribe?

Common Tests and Procedures

Patients with vitamin b12 deficiency often receive hematologic tests, complete blood count, lipid panel, other therapeutic procedures, hemoglobin a1c measurement, examination of breast, magnetic resonance imaging and sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy .

Common Medications

The most commonly prescribed drugs for patients with vitamin b12 deficiency include vitamin b 12, donepezil (aricept), epoetin alfa (procrit), atropine / diphenoxylate, cholecalciferol, hydrochlorothiazide / irbesartan, darbepoetin alfa (aranesp), entacapone (comtan), pyridostigmine (mestinon), flecainide, primidone, azathioprine and letrozole (femara) .

Vitamin B 12
$6
(28 days)
Donepezil (Aricept)
$210
(28 days)
Epoetin Alfa (Procrit)
$804
(21 days)
Cholecalciferol
$3
(21 days)
Darbepoetin Alfa (Aranesp)
$1004
(21 days)
Entacapone (Comtan)
$296
(28 days)
Pyridostigmine (Mestinon)
$63
(28 days)
Flecainide
$39
(28 days)
Primidone
$29
(28 days)
Azathioprine
$28
(28 days)
Letrozole (Femara)
$394
(28 days)

Who is at risk?

Groups of people at highest risk for vitamin b12 deficiency include age 75+ years age 60-74 years. On the other hand, age 5-14 years and age < 1 years almost never get vitamin b12 deficiency.

Age

< 1 years
0.0x
1-4 years
0.1x
5-14 years
0.0x
15-29 years
0.2x
30-44 years
0.6x
45-59 years
1.2x
60-74 years
2.0x
75+ years
3.2x

Sex

Male
0.7x
Female
1.2x

Race/Ethnicity

Black
0.6x
Hispanic
0.6x
White
1.3x
Other
0.5x
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