This is NOT medical advice!! My instructions aim to make this simple, but you should have your doctor or nurse show you how, too. Nothing's a substitute for in-person lessons, though this might help you remember how to do it later. Also, it goes without saying that injectable B12 and needles are both Rx items, and you shouldn't give your friends or anybody else B12 injections even if they have a prescription for the vitamin!
If your doctor refuses to prescribe the vitamin for you because your levels are "fine" (anywhere between 200-600 is often mistakenly considered acceptable), you can get vitamins elsewhere. Email me to ask for the information you need.
1. Get your supplies ready. You'll need the liquid vitamin (cyanocobalamin injection, USP, 1000 mcg/ml for IM or SC use only) and 1 or 3 ml, 25 gauge 1" needle. If you're a serious germ freak, rubbing alcohol and a cotton ball are nice. I do it after a shower, so I feel plenty clean. LOL I prefer the 3 ml/cc syringes because they are bigger and sturdier, but they gave me 1 cc syringes last time and they will work. (1 ml=1 cc)
2. Take the syringe out of the package. Make sure the needle's securely fastened to the syringe (if it's one of the screw-on kinds, as most of them are, this is important). Take the cap off the needle. Draw the syringe plunger back so that you have just over 1 cc of air in the syringe. Holding the bottle and the syringe upside-down, push the needle through the rubber stopper of the vitamin bottle and inject the air into the liquid vitamin.
3. Still holding the needle and bottle upside-down, pull the plunger back to pull about 0.5 cc of the vitamin in to the syringe. Tap the syringe a few times to get any air bubbles to rise to the top. Push those air bubbles back into the bottle of the vitamin before continuing to withdraw the vitamin solution. Eventually, you will have 1 cc of vitamin and no air in the syringe.
4. Bare your thigh (or your bottom) and make sure your skin is clean. Use rubbing alcohol if you like to use something to clean the skin; if you do, let it air-dry before proceeding.
5. Select a muscular part of the thigh (or the bum) as the injection site. Push the needle through the skin slowly (you don't need to "jab" it as that causes the most discomfort and can bend the needle!) With the 1" needles, you want to push the needle in until the syringe is almost touching your skin. Pull back on the plunger a little bit. If the plunger will pull back and/or you suddenly have blood in the needle, you have hit a blood vessel and you should withdraw the needle about 1/8" before injecting the vitamin. If you can't pull the plunger back, that's good, so push the plunger in gently until the plunger touches the bottom of the syringe. I find slow is better, but some people can push the plunger in quite quickly with no discomfort. I wait two seconds before removing the needle so that the vitamin doesn't 'leak' back out of the injection site, but if it does, you can wipe it off with a tissue. Again, if you are a germ freak, you can put a band-aid on the injection site, but in the time it would take me to unwrap a band-aid, I would lose the injection site, so I think a band-aid is mostly "mental medicine" in this case. :-)
|6. Recap the needle carefully and then take the used needles back to any pharmacy or doctor for safe disposal. In many places, it's illegal to put used needles into the trash because it's dangerous for the garbage collectors.|
That's it. Store the vitamin in a dark place at controlled room temperature. DON'T reuse needles! The vitamin is so cheap that you can discard the vial and get a new one every 90 days, even though it contains enough vitamin for 30 injections.
Hope this helps. BE BRAVE! It's really not a big deal once you take a deep breath and pierce the skin the first time with that needle. When you do it yourself, you can control the pace so that it doesn't hurt... too slow, and I'm just drawing it out and it makes me nervous, and too fast, and you are jabbing the muscle which can make it spasm. Maybe one shot in 20 I get a small bruise from nicking a blood vessel with the needle; this is absolutely no big deal. It's impossible (according to the literature) to OD on vitamin B-12 because you urinate out any excess. When injected intramuscularly, it reaches the bloodstream within 5 minutes and you store all of it that your body is going to store in the liver within the first four hours after an injection.
Some people find that they get a "rush" from the injections; anecdotal evidence suggests that this is more common when blood serum levels are below 1000. For this reason, many people prefer to do the injections in the morning.