What is the treatment for Pernicious Anemia?

By  ,  National Institute of Health
Jan 08, 2013

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Doctors treat pernicious anemia by replacing the missing vitamin B12 in your body. People who have pernicious anemia may need lifelong treatment.


Goals of Treatment


The goals of treating pernicious anemia include:

  • Preventing or treating the anemia and its signs and symptoms
  • Preventing or controlling complications, such as heart and nerve damage
  • Treating the cause of the pernicious anemia (if one can be found)

Specific Types of Treatment


Pernicious anemia usually is easy to treat with vitamin B12 shots or pills.


If you have severe pernicious anemia, your doctor may recommend shots first. Shots usually are given in a muscle every day or every week until the level of vitamin B12 in your blood improves. After your vitamin B12 blood level returns to normal, you may get a shot only once a month.


For less severe pernicious anemia, your doctor may recommend large doses of vitamin B12 pills. A vitamin B12 nose gel and spray also are available. These products may be useful for people who have trouble swallowing pills, such as older people who have had strokes.


Your signs and symptoms may begin to improve within a few days after the start of treatment. Your doctor may advise you to limit your physical activity until your condition improves.


If you have pernicious anemia due to a condition or factor other than lack of intrinsic factor, you may get treatment for the cause (if it can be found).


For example, medicines may be used to treat conditions that prevent your body from absorbing vitamin B12. If medicines are the cause of your pernicious anemia, your doctor may change the type or dose of medicine you take. Infants of strict vegetarian mothers may be given vitamin B12 supplements from birth.


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