Sublingual vitamin B12 compared to intramuscular injection in patients with type 2 diabetes treated with metformin: a randomised trial

Amber Parry-Strong, Fali Langdana, Sylvan Haeusler, Mark Weatherall, Jeremy Krebs
New Zealand Medical Journal 2016 June 10, 129 (1436): 67-75

UNLABELLED: MAIM: To compare a single 1mg intramuscular hydroxocobalamin injection with a 3-month course of 1mg/day sublingual methylcobalamin supplements on serum vitamin B12 concentrations in participants withtype 2 diabetes treated with metformin.

METHOD: Participants on metformin treatment with vitamin B12 concentrations below 220pmol/L were recruited through hospital diabetes clinics and primary care practices. They were randomised to receive either the injection or sublingual treatment. The primary outcome was serum vitamin B12 level after 3 months adjusted for baseline assessed by analysis of covariance (ANCOVA). The trial was registered on the Australia New Zealand Clinical Trial registry (ACTRN12612001108808).

RESULTS: A total of 34 participants were randomised; 19 to the tablet, and 15 to the injection. The mean (SD) age, duration of diabetes, and duration of metformin use were, 64.2 (7.3) years, 13.7 (6.4) years, and 11.6 (5.0) years, respectively. After 3 months, the mean (SD) vitamin B12 was 372.1 (103.3) pmol/L in the tablet group (n=19) compared to 251.7 (106.8) pmol/L in the injection group (n=15), ANCOVA estimated difference -119.4 (95% CI -191.2 to -47.6), p=0.002. After 6 months, the mean (SD) serum B12 was 258.8 (58.7) pmol/L in the tablet group (n=17) and 241.9 (40.1) pmol/L in the injection group (n=15); ANCOVA estimated difference -15.2 (95% CI -50.3 to 19.8), p=0.38. Higher metformin dose was associated with lower serum B12 at 3 months, but not at baseline or 6 months.

CONCLUSION: Decreased serum vitamin B12 level in patients with type 2 diabetes who are treated with metformin can be corrected through treatment with either hydroxocobalamin injections or methylcobalamin sublingual supplements.

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