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Postgrad Med J. Mar 2005; 81(953): 191–193.
PMCID: PMC1743228

Medical intelligence in Sweden. Vitamin B12: oral compared with parenteral?


Background: Sweden is the only country in which oral high dose vitamin B12 has gained widespread use in the treatment of deficiency states.

Objective: The aim of the study was to describe prescribing patterns and sales statistics of vitamin B12 tablets and injections in Sweden 1990–2000.

Design, setting, and sources: Official statistics of cobalamin prescriptions and sales were used.

Results: The use of vitamin B12 increased in Sweden 1990–2000, mainly because of an increase in the use of oral high dose vitamin B12 therapy. The experience, in statistical terms a "total investigation", comprised 1 000 000 patient years for tablets and 750 000 patient years for injections. During 2000, 13% of residents aged 70 and over were treated with vitamin B12, two of three with the tablet preparation. Most patients in Sweden requiring vitamin B12 therapy have transferred from parenteral to oral high dose vitamin B12 since 1964, when the oral preparation was introduced.

Conclusion: The findings suggest that many patients in other post-industrial societies may also be suitable for oral vitamin B12 treatment.

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Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
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