Mecobalamin that is taken orally will start acting in the human body after a few hours, while mecobalamin that is taken via intravenous injection will take a few minutes to start acting. Mecobalamin that is given in the form of intramuscular injection will start delivering its action in less than one hour. However, the duration for mecobalamin to cure peripheral neuropathies or megaloblastic anemia varies depending on the severity of the disease. Symptoms will first improve before a cure is achieved.
Vitamin B12 is important in maintaining the function of the human nervous system by maintaining a structure at the nerve cells which is known as the myelin sheath. Other than that, mecobalamin or methylcobalamin is used to treat anemia and peripheral neuropathies.
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Mecobalamin contains vitamin B12 which is one of the vitamins that are required by the human body. Vitamin B12 plays a very important role in the creation of red blood cells or erythrocytes.
It can be taken orally or through intramuscular (IM) injection, or through intravascular injection (IV). The dose varies depending on the disease, age, and severity of the symptoms. Mecobalamin should be with caution in pregnancy and lactating mother. Physicians will decide whether it is required to be used by pregnant patients or by patients who are breastfeeding. It should not be taken with the consumption of alcohol as alcohol reduces the absorption of the vitamin B12 and so the dose will not be enough to deliver the expected effect.
The possible side effects of taking methylcobalamin are:
➢ Abdominal pain
➢ Excessive sweating
➢ Pain at the injection site
➢ Itchiness at the site of injection
➢ Burning sensation over the body parts where the mecobalamin was injected
Mecobalamin should not be taken with certain medications as the medications may reduce the effectiveness, absorption, and the level of vitamin B12 in the body. The medications that may cause negative interactions with mecobalamin are:
1. Proton pump inhibitors like pantoprazole
3. Certain antihistamines
5. Aminosalicylic acid
7. A large dose of folic acid
Tablets or capsules of mecobalamin should be stored below 30 degrees celsius, while the injection solution must be stored between 2 to 8 degrees celsius. Mecobalamin should not be exposed to direct sunlight.
Megaloblastic anemia is a term used for macrocytic anemia that is characterized by impaired DNA synthesis in the red blood cells. This is usually caused by a lack of vitamin B12, folate, or copper. Ingestion of certain medications may also cause this.
This anemia is one of the eg. of macrocytic anemia. It is the anemia in which the size of the red blood cells is abnormally/ hugely large. Other types of anemia based on the size of the red blood cells are normocytic anemia and microcytic anemia. Normocytic anemia is when the red blood cells are normal in size, while microcytic anemia is when the red blood cells are small.
The main causes of macrocytic anemia (large red blood cells):
● Hemolytic anemia (burst of the red blood cells)
● Recovery from bleeding
● The recovery of bone marrow following a chemotherapy
● Increase red blood cells after patients were given iron or folate or vitamin B12 or erythropoietin
● Lack of vitamin B12
● Low level of folate
● Liver disease
● Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection
Peripheral neuropathy or better known as polyneuropathy is a disease affecting peripheral nerves. Causes of peripheral neuropathies are:
➔ Diabetes mellitus
➔ HIV infection
➔ Kidney disease
➔ Vitamin B12 and folate deficiencies
➔ Lyme disease
➔ Guillain-Barre syndrome
➔ Alcohol, chemotherapy, or heavy metals toxicities
Detection of the underlying cause of peripheral neuropathies is really vital so that the best treatment can be administered. Intake of vitamin B12 or mecobalamin is the key in curing peripheral neuropathy due to vitamin B12 deficiency. History taking, physical examinations, and tests are extremely required to conclude a final diagnosis before a treatment can be given. No matter what symptoms you are having, please visit a doctor for an opinion and if you require treatment, the right treatment can be given early.