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Details with Side Effects
Patients with early Leber's disease (hereditary optic nerve atrophy) who were treated with cyanocobalamin suffered severe and swift optic atrophy.
Hypokalemia and sudden death may occur in severe megaloblastic anemia which is treated intensely.
Anaphylactic shock and death have been reported after parenteral vitamin B12 administration. An intradermal test dose is recommended before Cyanocobalamin Injection, USP is administered to patients suspected of being sensitive to this drug.
This product contains Benzyl Alcohol. Benzyl Alcohol has been reported to be associated with a fatal "Gasping Syndrome" in premature infants.
This product contains aluminum that may be toxic. Aluminum may reach toxic levels with prolonged parenteral administration if kidney function is impaired. Premature neonates are particularly at risk because their kidneys are immature, and they require large amounts of calcium and phosphate solutions, which contain aluminum.
Research indicates that patients with impaired kidney function, including premature neonates, who receive parenteral levels of aluminum at greater than 4 to 5 mcg/kg/day accumulate aluminum at levels associated with central nervous system and bone toxicity. Tissue loading may occur at even lower rates of administration.
Vitamin B12 deficiency that is allowed to progress for longer than 3 months may produce permanent degenerative lesions of the spinal cord. Doses of folic acid greater than 0.1 mg per day may result in hematologic remission in patients with vitamin B12 deficiency. Neurologic manifestations will not be prevented with folic acid, and if not treated with vitamin B12, irreversible damage will result.
Doses of cyanocobalamin exceeding 10 mcg daily may produce hematologic response in patients with folate deficiency. Indiscriminate administration may mask the true diagnosis.
During the initial treatment of patients with pernicious anemia, serum potassium must be observed closely the first 48 hours and potassium replaced if necessary.
Hematocrit, reticulocyte count, vitamin B12, folate and iron levels should be obtained prior to treatment. Hematocrit and reticulocyte counts should be repeated daily from the fifth to seventh days of therapy and then frequently until the hematocrit is normal. If folate levels are low, folic acid should also be administered. If reticulocytes have not increased after treatment or if reticulocyte counts do not continue at least twice normal as long as the hematocrit is less than 35%, diagnosis or treatment should be reevaluated. Repeat determinations of iron and folic acid may reveal a complicating illness that might inhibit the response of the marrow.
Carcinogenesis, Mutagenesis, Impairment of Fertility
Long term studies in animals to evaluate carcinogenic potential have not been done. There is no evidence from long-term use in patients with pernicious anemia that cyanocobalamin is carcinogenic. Pernicious anemia is associated with an increased incidence of carcinoma of the stomach, but this is believed to be related to the underlying pathology and not to treatment with cyanocobalamin.
Pregnancy: Teratogenic Effects
Pregnancy Category C: Adequate and well-controlled studies have not been done in pregnant women. However, vitamin B12 is an essential vitamin and requirements are increased during pregnancy. Amounts of vitamin B12 that are recommended by the Food and Nutrition Board, National Academy of Science-National Research Council for pregnant women (4 mcg daily) should be consumed during pregnancy.
Vitamin B12 is known to be excreted in human milk. Amounts of vitamin B12 that are recommended by the Food and Nutrition Board, National Academy of Science-National Research Council for lactating women (4 mcg daily) should be consumed during lactation.
Intake in children should be in the amount (0.5 to 3 mcg daily) recommended by the Food and Nutrition Board, National Academy of Science-National Research Council.
Last reviewed on RxList: 10/23/2008
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.
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