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Populist "medicine" And The Harm It Does To Those Who Are Really Ill


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#1 brzghoff

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Posted 17 December 2014 - 02:57 PM

I learned today that there is a nationwide shortage of injectable B12. Apparantly, the supply cannot keep up with the demand because doctors are willing to give these shots to people who don't need them. Patients hear from some TV or Radio doctor, or from some movie star or buddy at the gym about how a B12 shot will give them more energy, help them lose weight or some other nonsense. 

 

Why is this an issue for me? because my husband relies on injectable B12 in order to live a normal life. He called his doctor to schedule his monthly injection and they are out and don't know when they will get more in, its on back order. He had ths problem earlier this year, but at that time we thought it was a problem with the doc's office staff in managing their inventory. He is now scrambling to find another doctor who has some in stock that will see him. My husband has pernicious anemia which was a fatal disease until about 1920 after vitamin B12 was discovered. it was determined that a deficiency in B12 was the cause of the condition that came to be known as pernicious anemia. Without his monthly injections he would die in a matter of years, if that.  It is an autoimmune disorder that results in the body not being able to manufacture "Intrinsic Factor" or IF. In order to metabolize B12 in the food we eat - or in vitamin suppliments taken orally, the B12 must be able to bind with IF. If there is no IF, there is no B12 absorption. The only way to get B12 into the blood stream of someone with pernicious anemia is through a B12 injection. 

 

people who think a B12 shot gives them energy are experiencing the placebo effect. people ask for it expecting a boost of energy, so they feel what they tell themselves. i talk a lot about cognitive behavioral therapy as a highly effective treatment for anxiety and depression. well, the placebo effect is a classic example of CBT in action. tell yourself that you can't get better, than you can't get better. tell yourself you will survive cymbalta withdrawal you will survive cymbalta withdrawal (no, not overnight it takes a lot of work in challenging your negative thought processes!). tell yourself an injection will make you feel great, well then...

 

B12 injections are all the rage at health clubs, some "holistic" naturopathic doctors, weight loss clinics and such. dont' get me wrong, i support alternative holistic medicine, but there are quacks out there too - and plenty of doctors are happy to write a 'scrip for whatever their patients want, as long as it keeps them coming back. B12 taken orally works just as well for those whose bodies manufacture IF - which is most of us. I take a B vitamin liquid suppliment daily - by mouth! it works just as well as the injection for those who do not have pernicious anemia.

 

please folks, get the word out. B12 injections are for people who need them because of pernicious anemia, cancer treatments or due to other damage to their stomachs - which is where IF is manufactured. its immoral for a fad to keep the supply of a treatment out of reach of those who need it to live.


#2 TryinginFL

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Posted 17 December 2014 - 05:48 PM

Brz,

Thanks for the info... I didn't know this and am happy that you posted.

#3 FiveNotions

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Posted 17 December 2014 - 09:54 PM

Brz, thank you for telling us about this ... the blind grad student I work for goes for shots .... twice ... yes, twice ... a week ... at some holistic practitioner place ... they also sell him boatloads of overpriced vitamins and supplements ...
 
I will talk to him, very seriously, about this on Friday when I next work for him ...
 
How long can your husband get by without the shot? Is there any way that you can get/order the B12 in the form your husband needs from Canada or Australia or Europe?
 
Would it help if I researched availability for you?


#4 brzghoff

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Posted 17 December 2014 - 10:52 PM

FN - you are so kind. please share with your grad student. he gets 2 shots a week? unbelievable! there is a push to get the word out. at this point, its still around, you just have to dig for it. depends on the level of inventory at a particular provider when the commodity gets scarce. we found a hemotologist who is out of our network so it would cost $150 for what normaly is a few bucks. not because they b12 is expensive, but because he must see the doctor first. usually he gets it at our GP's office from the nurse, no dr visit required. its not expensive - just getting scarce. no need to panic yet, the availability of the supply is cyclic, he can probably go a month before his energy/strength really gets sapped. 

 

he will likely start giving himself injections. that way he can keep a larger supply on hand at home and ask the pharmacy to help us keep an eye out for when the supply starts to slip relative to when he would need to refill. this whole situation was a reality check for us. this link provides insight on the situation. its from a blog of a cancer survivor who had a gastrectomy. his article does mention the sublingual tabs as an option for some, but not for my husband. doc tried that already and it didn't make a difference in the b12 level in his blood

 

http://www.nostomach...-of-vitamin-b12

 

as for canada, the problem is just as bad there. not sure about australia. 


#5 brzghoff

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Posted 19 December 2014 - 11:39 AM

update: we had to drive all the way across town but found a doc who had b12 for my husband to get his monthly shot. we're now trying to determine if getting several months supply at a time is a smarter strategy and he can just give himself the injections. a lot of folks do it that way


#6 Laurahokie

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Posted 21 December 2014 - 08:53 PM

I had a friend just tell me she is ordering b 12 shots for energy and good health. She doesn't have any major health issues. I am going to gently educate her.



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