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Drug Notes

Our Health Information Database is provided by A.D.A.M. the leading provider of electronic and printed information for professionals and consumers in healthcare and industry. It provides authoritative, reliable content written and reviewed by an editorial board who represent a variety of specialty areas. This board reviews and evaluates all healthcare information to ensure it is accurate, reliable, and can be used with complete confidence. And now you have access to the same authoritative, trusted clinical information relied upon by health professionals around the world.
Vitamin B-12 (Cyanocobalamin) (By mouth)


Cyanocobalamin (sye-an-oh-koe-BAL-a-min)

Supplies your body with vitamin B12. You might need a vitamin B12 supplement if your body has trouble using the vitamin B12 in the food you eat. You also might need vitamin B12 if you are a vegetarian, if you have had part of your stomach removed, or for other reasons. Prevents pernicious anemia, a blood problem caused by a lack of vitamin B12. Cyanocobalamin is another name for vitamin B12.

Brand Name(s)

Family Pharmacy Vitamin B12, Leader Natural Vitamin B12, PharmAssure Vitamin B-12, Twelve Resin-K, The Medicine Shoppe Natural Vitamin B12, Good Neighbor Vitamin B12, Carlson B-12 Time, Good Neighbor Pharmacy Vitamin B12, Rite Aid Vitamin B12, The Medicine Shoppe Vitamin B12, Vitamist B12-500, B-12-SL, Mason Natural B-12, Nature's Blend B12

There may be other brand names for this medicine.

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used

You should not use this medicine if you have had an allergic reaction to vitamin B12 (cyanocobalamin), hydroxycobalamin, or cobalt (a metal).

How to Use This Medicine

Capsule, Tablet, Long Acting Tablet, Lozenge, Dissolving Tablet, Liquid, Spray

  • Your doctor will tell you how much of this medicine to use and how often. Do not use more medicine or use it more often than your doctor tells you to.
  • Carefully follow your doctor's instructions about any special diet.
  • If you are using this medicine without a prescription, follow the instructions on the medicine label.
  • Measure the oral liquid medicine with a marked measuring spoon, oral syringe, or medicine cup. You might need to shake the liquid just before you use it. You may mix the oral liquid in some juice if you prefer.
  • Place the lozenge in your mouth or under your tongue and let it melt. Some brands of lozenges can also be swallowed. You might need to hold the medicine in your mouth for 30 seconds before you swallow it. Follow the directions on the medicine label.
  • Place the sublingual tablet under your tongue and let it melt. Some brands can also be swallowed. You might need to hold the medicine in your mouth for at least 30 seconds before you swallow. Follow the directions on the medicine label.
  • Spray the mouth spray on the inside of your cheek. Hold the medicine in your mouth for about 30 sections, then swallow.
  • Swallow the extended-release tablet whole. Do not crush, break, or chew it.

If a dose is missed:

  • If you miss a dose or forget to use your medicine, use it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, wait until then to use the medicine and skip the missed dose. Do not use extra medicine to make up for a missed dose.

How to Store and Dispose of This Medicine

  • Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light.
  • Ask your pharmacist, doctor, or health caregiver about the best way to dispose of any outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.
  • Keep all medicine away from children and never share your medicine with anyone.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid

Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.

  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are also using folic acid (folate) supplements.

Warnings While Using This Medicine

  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are pregnant or breast feeding, or if you have liver disease, kidney disease, or Leber's disease (an eye disease). Tell your doctor if you have low levels of iron in your blood.
  • Your doctor might need to check your blood at regular visits while you are using this medicine. Be sure to keep all appointments.

Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine

Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:

  • Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in your face or hands, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing.

If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:

  • Diarrhea.
  • Mild skin itching.

If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088

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Review Date: 2/4/2011

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- 2010 A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
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