Questions for those who do B12 injections

on 2/3/10 11:43 am - OH
So I saw my PCP yesterday and got a prescription for B12 injections and I just picked up the stuff at the pharmacy.  But I got a couple questions.

First of all, my insurance paid for the B12 (which must be injected, of course) but refused to pay for the needles and syringes (which you must have in order to inject the B12, of course).  That makes no sense to me.  Has anyone else had that problem?  I just paid for it myself, but I'd rather my insurance covered it, if I can get them to do so.

Also, how do you dispose of the used needles and syringes?  I asked the pharmacist and she said to get a plastic container with a lid and put them in there and when it gets full just throw it in the trash.  That doesn't sound right to me.  Are you really supposed to set used needles out at the curb with your garbage to be collected?

Andrea U.
on 2/3/10 11:58 am - Wilson, NC
I don't inject myself -- but my dog gets b12 injections 1x a week (don't ask -- I swear he went off and had a RNY without telling us the way he can't keep weight on!)

My target pharmacy has BD containers for 2.99 that I throw just the needles in and throw the syringes away in the trash.  I suppose I could throw the entire thing in the container for the cost of it -- not very expensive -- but I figured why waste the space for something that isn't hazardous?  Sides I was keeping some of the first syringes for dosing the kids (hey, you never know when you need a nice metered syringe?)

So that's what I do.  It's been nice to have since my husband uses razor blades rather than a regular razor to shave with so we put his blades in that when he's done, and we had a kitchen knife break that we put in there.

on 2/3/10 12:01 pm
RNY on 05/20/09 with
I do my B-12 injections as well. 

My insurance pays for the needles and syringes.  I would call your insurance company on that one.  That's ridiculous.  

When I dispose of the needle, which is only one time per month, I recap it with the plastic cover and try to place it in a container (such as a used empty bottle of water ).  I believe that is the safest way.  You could, of course, purchase a container from the pharmacy or medical supply store, but for one needle per month, I'd rather just use a recycled water bottle!!

Good luck!
on 2/3/10 12:04 pm - NC
RNY on 08/21/09 with
why were you precribed B-12 injections; I have been reading alot regarding B-12 from other WLS patients.  Is this common?
on 2/3/10 12:12 pm - OH
I asked for a prescription because my B12 is low and I was concerned about it.  Some people just prefer doing injections once a month to taking it sublingually every day.   There is a also a patch and a nasal spray you can use, if you prefer.  All RNY patients need some kind of B12 supplement.

on 2/3/10 12:21 pm - NC
RNY on 08/21/09 with
okay - I thought I get enough from my vitamins but I actually for my 6 months lab next month so I will definately will ask that question.  Does the B-12 boost your energy.
on 2/3/10 12:26 pm - OH
You will not get enough from your multivitamin.  That's because 1) we have malabsorption due to bypassing part of the small intestine, and 2) you need something called intrinsic factor in order to absorb B12 that you eat or swallow, and you don't have that in your pouch now.  That's why you need to use a sublingual, or patch, or nasal spray, or shots.  A pill that you swallow won't work.

If your B12 is low,  you'll lack energy.  Boosting your B12 should give you energy in that case.  If your B12 is good, then taking some probably won't give you energy.

Your labs may not show your B12 as being low yet because we store a lot of that in our bodies and you can usually go for quite a while without getting enough before your numbers drop very low.  But it WILL eventually get low if you don't start taking some.  Also, when you get your labs done, be aware that they often tell you that your B12 is OK when it's really not.  What I mean is, most labs consider it "normal" if it's 200-900.  But studies show that if it drops below 550, people usually start having problems with memory and concentration and depression.  If it drops below 400, people usually start having neurological problems.  But your's can be 250 and you can be having trouble walking due to that and your lab report will say it's normal.

on 2/3/10 12:40 pm - NC
RNY on 08/21/09 with
thank you for the info very helpful.  I have been having memory and concentration problems and very low energy.  I will surely ask and keep those numbers.
Yvonne McCarthy
on 2/3/10 12:19 pm - Plano, TX
RNY on 03/30/01 with
I also do them and yes it is common because we really need to make sure our B12 levels are OK.  Check with your doc and just make sure your levels are OK.

Open RNY 3/30/01  260lbs - 130lbs Yvonne McCarthy, CLC. Health & Wellness Coach (full time volunteer). I am happy to help if I can. Visit and see the Bariatric Girl blog!  Also check out my Facebook Bariatric Girl Page Photography site     .„ø¤º°¨ Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ¨°º¤ø„¸¸„ø¤º°¨„ø¤º°¨ Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ¨°º¤ø„¸¸„ø¤º°¨

on 2/3/10 12:05 pm - Brunswick,OH/Ruskin/FL, FL

Empty coffee cans work good for disposing of needles and syringes. 


Desperately Seeking a revision to a DS.
Be  careful of the toes you step on today because they will be attached to the ass you have to kiss tomorrow.

on 2/3/10 12:10 pm - Maricopa, AZ
BTW, you can take your used needles once your container gets full or whenever you want to any hospital or clinic and ask if they would mind disposing them. I have to have shots for another issue and I take them to my Dr office every time and they dispose of them. I felt guilty putting them in the trash. Bio hazards and needles from health care providers are incinerated first before going to landfill.

Height 5'6"  HW 263 SW 239 LW 142 From size 20/22 to size 5/6   

At 4 years out I crept back up to 180 now working my way back down. CW 173 size 10


Karen M.
on 2/3/10 12:20 pm - Mississauga, Canada
I'm too much of a chicken-**** to inject it myself. I take the vial to the walk-in and they do it for me.  By the way, my insurance doesn't cover it at all - you're lucky you at least get the B12.



Ontario Recipes Forum -

on 2/3/10 12:24 pm - Austin, TX
At least in Texas it's legal to put your used syringes in an old milk carton and either tape it up (wax carton) or put the screw top on and then put it in the trash.

I find taking a B12 shot easier than remember to take another pill. But that is just me.  I also take Embrel shots and the company provides the little red "sharps" containers for free.

My insurance does not cover syringes either. But mine don't cost much either.

Just a side note - I also try to get my doctor to order the largest bottle of B12 each year - even multiple large bottles are better.  In case we ever have some sort of catastrophic event I never want to be without a supply of B12!  In my case I have Pernicious Anemia and so B12 is vital
to keeping me I stock pile it all the time!

Just FYI Cheers, Tee

Being happy doesn't mean everything is perfect. It means you have decided to look beyond the imperfections. I choose happiness!

on 2/3/10 12:51 pm - Puyallup, WA
RNY on 10/05/94
I use

My ins won't pay for them, but if I get rx, I pay no sales tax. BUT they'd be about 2/$1 I prefer to get them more like 6/$1

All told, that's $16 or so a year for every 2 weeks. For us, 2 ppl x weekly, we need 52 EACH, so I usually get a better deal on 4 bx.

One time the promo was a sharps box. I got another "new" sharps box on I got one at Costco for under $3. Then I got this HUGE one...forget where. Costco took the small ones. My doc office said they'd take the big ones if I took them out of the box (not possible), so at some point, we toss the syringes in various bits of trash (part in plastic recycle, but the plungers in the trash). Only the needles go in the sharps container.

That said, not sure where the big one will go when I can't fit one more in there. Weighs a ton. LOL

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 2/3/10 3:49 pm - Towanda, PA
When I had gestational diabetes, I was told to cap the needles, and put them in a heavy plastic container with lid and write sharps on them.  I used an empty litter jug with the lid.  It held a lot, and I only had to dispose of them once when my pregnancy was over.  That is what I plan on doing again after surgery when I get on B12 injections.

Yvonne.    To thine own self be true.     hw 432/ sw 352/ cw196.8/gw 200  RNY 8/11/10 Corsettrunkplasty & thigh lipo 5/16/2012.


on 2/3/10 6:27 pm - el cajon, CA
RNY on 01/25/10 with
Question about the B12 injections. How often do we have to get them? I was going to just go to a clinic and they told me that the dosage is 1000. Would that last 2 weeks or will I have to get them weekly?
on 2/3/10 6:46 pm - OH
It really depends on whether your B12 is low or not.  If it's good, the ASMBS recommends 1000 mcg once a month.  Mine's low so I'm doing it once a week to start with.  I'll cut back once the numbers go up some.

on 2/3/10 9:17 pm - Suffern, NY
My insurance pays for the B12 and the needles.  That makes no sense to me, how do they expect you to do the shots without the needles.  I Would call the insurance company and aks them why on this one.

As far as the needles go, I have a biohazard container for another injectable medication I use but you can buy them in any pharmacy and once they are filled, you can return them to the local hospital or some ambulance corp or fire departments.  Some doctors offices will even take them for you, you can check with them.  In NY, it is illegal to put them in the trash.  Kids can get there hands on them and stick themselves.


on 2/4/10 5:25 am - OH
I plan to call the insurance company today.  It makes no sense to me either.  If they pay for the B12, it seems like they should pay for the needles since you must have the needles to use the B12.

I'll check with my doctor's office or the local hospital and see if they will take the needles.  It didn't seem right to me to thow them in the trash.  I would be afraid someone might get into the trash and stick themselves.  I mean, not that you should be going through someone's trash, but it happens.  Or what if raccoons get in the trash or something?  That happens around here.  They can take the lids off the trash cans and everything.

on 2/4/10 8:26 pm - Suffern, NY
Which type of needle did your doctor prescribe?  IM or SubQ?  It is possible that the IM is not covered for some rediculous reason but SubQ has to be covered, those are insulin needles and diabetics have to give themselves injections.  Maybe that is a way around it.  Try to get the insulin needles.