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What size needle for B12 injections?

on 2/1/10 1:22 pm - OH
I have an appointment with my PCP tomorrow and I'm asking for a prescription for B12 injections.  I was wondering, for those who do their own B12 shots, what size needles do you use?  I was reading some different things online and there seems to be some disagreement about whether you can do B12 shots subcutaneously or if it must be given IM.  I plan to ask my PCP about that.  I guess if you do it sub-q you can use a smaller needle, right?  But even if I have to do it IM, I want the smallest needle I can get that will work.

on 2/1/10 1:32 pm
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You are brave Kelly, I got week in the knees thinking about doing it myself...


"The first thing I do in the morning is brush my teeth and sharpen my tongue." --- Dorothy Parker  

"You may not like what I say or how I say it, but it may be just exactly what you need to hear." ---Kathryn White



on 2/1/10 1:37 pm - OH
Hee hee.  I'm gonna make my partner do it.  I don't mind getting shots but I don't think I could stick myself.  I informed him that this would be his job, and he said, "Oh, cool!"  He's looking forward to it.

on 2/1/10 2:10 pm - Puyallup, WA
RNY on 10/05/94
I have used my thighs, but even after all these years, I prefer not. I find the spot, but then close my eyes and jab. So, Don prefers to do a glut.

He takes 2 shots, prefers B12 in arm, the other in glut.

RNY, distal, 10/5/94 

P.S.  My year + long absence has NOTHING to do with my WLS, or my type of WLS. See my profile.

on 2/1/10 1:33 pm - Louisville, KY

Have you considered the prescription B12 nasal spray?  I just use it once a week and my B12 levels have been great.  I much prefer the spray to a needle!

on 2/1/10 1:39 pm - OH
I thought of doing the nasal spray.  Right now mine's kinda low and I think I would just feel better doing shots for a while until I get it up.  I'm not sure that the shots would work any better for getting it up than the nasal spray would, that may all be in my head.  But hey, if it makes me feel better....

on 2/1/10 1:35 pm - Lawrenceville, GA
*gulp*   I used to give my mother b-12 injections and I cringed everytime I had to do it.  I sure hope you can do it with a small needle.  I cannot imagine doing it to myself with what I used to use on her. 

Start Weight     309    
Surgery              301
Current               206

O M G - I am down over 100#.  

on 2/1/10 1:40 pm - OH
Apparently you can do it with a fairly skinny needle.  But I want to specifically ask for a small one because several people have told me that if you don't specifically ask for a small one, they often give you big ones.  Which makes no sense to me, really, because shouldn't all doctors know patients would prefer a small needle to a big one?  But whatever.

(deactivated member)
on 2/1/10 1:38 pm
I use a 25g 5/8 (.5mm x 16mm)  Small, fine & thin.  I do not feel it at all.  I inject in the top of my thigh and as I am kinda skinny, it does get in the muscle.

on 2/1/10 1:42 pm - OH
OK, thanks.  I was gonna ask for at least a 27.  But I guess it also depends on if you want to do it IM or sub-q, which I want to ask my doc about.  Like I said, I read several things that said it needs to be IM, but I also read a few things that said sub-q works just fine.

on 2/1/10 1:44 pm - Lawrenceville, GA
This thread is making me feel faint    laugh.  I am such a baby when it comes to needles.  I guess I need get over THAT real quick eh? 


Start Weight     309    
Surgery              301
Current               206

O M G - I am down over 100#.  

on 2/1/10 1:49 pm
I have not  started B-12 injections, the doctor here is waiting n lab work to come back. i'm not sure i i would be giving to myself or not. I'm thinking they should be similar to the diabetic needle. Short and very tiny.. probably a 32 gage?  shouldn't be to long or to big..
take care
on 2/1/10 2:07 pm - Puyallup, WA
RNY on 10/05/94
I use IM, so 25g, 1", and the 3 ml barrel is easier to find.

Studies say IM == 100%, subcu = 80%. Some ppl do well on the subcu. My B12 level fell from 2000 to 400 in 6 months. And I have NEVER gotten it back up there, even doing daily shots for 3 months.

Some ppl can get the subcu (diabetes size) cheaper or free. I pay about 6/$1 for the ones I use at

RNY, distal, 10/5/94 

P.S.  My year + long absence has NOTHING to do with my WLS, or my type of WLS. See my profile.

on 2/1/10 2:14 pm - winnipeg, Canada
Im a home care nurse and we use a 21 gauge needle, 1 inch is fine.  I would go IM all the way.  We never give b12 subcutaneous.  Hope this helps.
Jane K.
on 2/1/10 2:29 pm - Clinton, TN
RNY on 07/07/08 with
In my experience for the first year I gave myself IM injections every 2 weeks but had to up that to once a week to get my levels where my doc and I wanted them... below 2000.   For the last 6 months I went to SC into my flabby stomach and my levels remained the same.  Noway will I go back to IM.  May just be me, but with the same levels and the ease and painless efforts of SC, that is the way I'm going.
The needles I use are 25 gauge x 1 in and don't feel them at all in the stomach.

"If you can spend a perfectly useless afternoon in a perfectly useless manner, you have learned how to live."  Lin Yutang

on 2/1/10 3:16 pm
RNY on 12/18/09 with
I also get faint just thinking about giving myself injections---but when you have to do it to survive--you will----before my RNY I had to get injections of Lovenox in the abdomen for 10 days before and for 30 days after (I have Factor Five Leiden--a blood clotting gene and have been on and will always be on coumadin)  Many diabetics also give themselves shots---so, if you need it you will find a way to overcome the fear---I just have my husband or daughter give them to me !! Still couldn't do it myself.
Sharyn S.
on 2/1/10 6:10 pm - Bastrop, TX
RNY on 08/19/04 with
B12 is generally an IM injection.  The needle size should depend on location.  Use a 25 gauge 5/8" needle for the deltoid and a 25 gauge 1" or 1-1/2" in the quadricep.

Sharyn, RN

RIP, MOM ~ 5/31/1944 - 5/11/2010
RIP, DADDY ~ 9/2/1934 - 1/25/2012

on 2/1/10 7:35 pm - miamisburg, OH
RNY on 12/15/09 with
holy crap - does everyone use shots and not the dissolvable tablets (sublingual)?  i havent had my first set of blood tests yet post op but hope like heck i dont need shots...  my pcp said she could give me one off and on if needed but hope i dont...

on 2/1/10 9:39 pm - Suffern, NY
The B12 bottle from the manufacturer says for IM or SC use only.  I have been giving myself injections for 10 years and have great numbers.  They used to be greater than 2000, so I had to cut back, so now I have a level of 1760. I think that is pretty great.  According to my Hematologist, primary care and NUT, there is no need to do it IM, the SC is just as good and much easier to do.  It is completely painless and  you can do it yourself.  I started out doing it in my thigh but I was bruising, so I switched to my stomach and it is much better.  It is up to you which way you do it but I highly recommend SC.

I use 29 gauge, super thin syringes. 100 - 1.0 cc single use needles = 1/2 inch.


on 2/1/10 9:49 pm - College Station, TX
RNY on 01/09/07 with
I give myself my B12 shot in my upper thigh or hip...  The needle is really thin and long.  Some times it is easy and goes right in and other times I feel like it takes forever and just will NOT break the skin!  but somehow I get thru it every time.  I give mine IM because that's how my surgeon told me I should be doing it.