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Vitamin B12 Shots: How Much They Cost

Nov 2, 2022
Vitamin B12 Shots: How Much They Cost
Vitamin B12 deficiency is common, affecting about 6% of adults under the age of 60 and almost 20% of adults over the age of 60.

Vitamin B12 deficiency is common, affecting about 6% of adults under the age of 60 and almost 20% of adults over the age of 60. Approximately 24% of men and 29% of women take supplemental vitamin B12. However, vitamin B12 is not easily absorbed. If you are one of the many people wondering how much are B12 shots and dealing with vitamin B12 deficiency, vitamin B12 shots have the following potential benefits:

  • Improved mood
  • More energy
  • More restful sleep
  • Lower risk of anemia
  • Clearer cognitive thinking
  • Better nerve and muscle function

Vitamin B12 can be consumed in your diet or supplemented via an oral pill or an injection. The recommended daily allowance (RDA) for adults for vitamin B12 is 2.4 mcg per day. Unless you are vegan, your diet should supply enough vitamin B12. Meats, eggs, dairy, and other animal products are rich in vitamin B12. Breakfast cereals and nutritional yeasts are also fortified with vitamin B12. 

But getting enough vitamin B12 is just the first step. The inability to absorb and process vitamin B12 can also cause a deficiency. Older adults, vegetarians, vegans, people with prolonged use of histamine H2 blockers, metformin, and proton pump inhibitors, and people with pernicious anemia or gastrointestinal disorders are at the highest risk of vitamin B12 deficiency. 

Vitamin B12 shots have many potential benefits, so the next question most people have is, “How much do vitamin B12 shots cost?”

How Much Are B12 Shots Out Of Pocket?

The cost of vitamin B12 depends on several factors, including:

  • The country or area of the world you live in
  • Whether you have insurance or not
  • Whether you plan to self-inject at home or have a medical professional do the injection
  • The form and strength of vitamin B12 you will be injecting

Vitamin B12 comes in two forms: methylcobalamin and cyanocobalamin. Methylcobalamin is the active and more easily absorbed form of vitamin B12. Cyanocobalamin is an inactive, synthetic form of vitamin B12. 

How much are B12 shots? The price range for vitamin B12 varies:

  • Doctor’s office: a single injection in a doctor’s office costs between $35 and $80. There may be an additional cost for administering the shot. The cost may be much higher in private clinics, even up to $200 or more per injection. 
  • Online wellness clinic: a 10 ml vial of methylcobalamin B12 costs between $75 and $150, depending on the quantity purchased. This cost typically includes the cost of the online doctor’s visit and prescription. 
  • Online pharmacy: cyanocobalamin injections in a 10 ml vial cost around $10.00. A 25 ml vitamin B12 vial costs $90 with a drug discount card.

As with all medications, international pharmacies and unlicensed online businesses offer vitamin B12 at much lower prices and often do not require a prescription. If you choose this option, it is important to be very careful. International pharmacies are governed by the laws of the country where they are based, and they do not have to meet U.S. standards. Unlicensed online pharmacies that offer vitamin B12 injections without requiring a prescription may offer products that are not as expected—for example, sending cyanocobalamin instead of the more expensive methylcobalamin. 

Vitamin B12 Shots: How Much They Cost

Are Vitamin B12 Shots Covered By Insurance?

Vitamins are typically not covered by insurance. However, vitamin B12 injections are considered specific therapy for some conditions, such as specific anemias, gastrointestinal conditions, and neuropathies. In these cases, intramuscular vitamin B12 injections may be covered by your insurance or through Part A and Part B Medicare benefits

Do I Need A Prescription For B12 Injections?

In the U.S., all B12 injections require a prescription to obtain them legally. It is important to get a full medical checkup because the symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency could be caused by another medical condition. Once you start treatment, your doctor can help ensure your dosage is correct and manage any potential side effects. 

How Often Should You Get A B12 Shot?

Your doctor will discuss how often to get a vitamin B12 shot with you at your online appointment. Vitamin B12 deficiency has been traditionally treated with 1 mg intramuscular injections weekly for eight weeks, followed by 1 mg monthly injections.1 

vitamin B12 deficiency and vial of blood

What’s Better, B12 Shots Or Pills?

When you get a vitamin B12 shot, the B12 is put right into your muscle, where it can get into your bloodstream. But vitamin B12 that is taken by mouth must go through the stomach and be absorbed by the intestines. Vitamin B12 deficiency is often caused by problems in the digestive tract that make it hard to absorb vitamin B12. 

About half of the B12 in supplements with 1 to 2 mcg of B12 is absorbed. As B12 doses in supplements increase, the percentage absorbed decreases. For example:2 

  • Only about 2% of a 500-mcg dose of oral vitamin B12 is absorbed.
  • Only about 1.3% of a 1,000-mcg dose of vitamin B12 is absorbed.
how much are b12 shots compared to b12 pills

Many doctors prefer vitamin B12 injections over pills, according to researchers. Potential reasons for this preference include low-quality evidence supporting oral B12 use, society recommendations for intramuscular vitamin B12, poor understanding of vitamin B12 absorption and requirements, and patients’ preferences for vitamin B12 injections.3 

Intrinsic factor does not limit the amount of B12 that can be absorbed by B12 injections. This means that your body can use much more vitamin B12 after a B12 injection. For example:2 

  • About 97% of a 10 mcg B12 injection is retained. 
  • About 55% of a 100 mcg B12 injection is retained.
  • About 15% of a 1,000 mcg B12 injection is retained.

Conclusion

Understanding the cost and benefits of Vitamin B12 shots is essential for those looking to buy Vitamin B12 to address deficiencies or boost overall health. With various options available, from doctor’s office visits to online wellness clinics and pharmacies, choosing the right source for Vitamin B12 injections can significantly affect both cost and convenience.

If you are deficient in vitamin B12 due to a medical condition, older age, or after following a vegan or vegetarian diet, intramuscular vitamin B12 injections will replenish your vitamin B12 and restore your energy. A healthcare professional at Invigor Medical will evaluate your medical history and help you determine whether vitamin B12 injections are right for you. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How long do B12 injections last?

The duration of the effects of a B12 injection can vary from person to person. Typically, B12 injections are administered every few weeks to maintain adequate B12 levels. The exact duration of the effects may depend on factors such as individual metabolism, underlying health conditions, and the specific type and dosage of the B12 injection used.

Is one B12 shot a month is enough?

The frequency of B12 injections can vary depending on an individual’s B12 deficiency and their healthcare provider’s recommendations. While some people may only require monthly B12 shots to maintain sufficient levels, others with more severe deficiencies may need more frequent injections. It’s essential to consult with a healthcare professional to determine the appropriate dosage and frequency for your specific needs.

Are B12 injections prescription only?

Yes, B12 injections are typically available by prescription. Healthcare providers prescribe B12 injections when they diagnose a patient with a B12 deficiency or determine that B12 supplementation is necessary for other medical reasons. It is essential to follow your healthcare provider’s guidance and prescription instructions when using B12 injections.

How much are b12 shots?

The cost of B12 shots can vary depending on several factors, including the type of B12 injection, your location, and whether you have insurance coverage. Generally, B12 injections may range from $20 to $50 per shot without insurance. Some healthcare providers may offer package deals or discounts for multiple injections.

Disclaimer
While we strive to always provide accurate, current, and safe advice in all of our articles and guides, it’s important to stress that they are no substitute for medical advice from a doctor or healthcare provider. You should always consult a practicing professional who can diagnose your specific case. The content we’ve included in this guide is merely meant to be informational and does not constitute medical advice.

Vitamin B12 Shots: How Much They Cost

Leann Poston, M.D.

Dr. Leann Poston is a licensed physician in the state of Ohio who holds an M.B.A. and an M. Ed. She is a full-time medical communications writer and educator who writes and researches for Invigor Medical. Dr. Poston lives in the Midwest with her family. She enjoys traveling and hiking. She is an avid technology aficionado and loves trying new things.

References

  • Langan RC, Zawistoski KJ. Update on vitamin B12 deficiency. Am Fam Physician. Jun 15 2011;83(12):1425-30. 
  • Carmel R. How I treat cobalamin (vitamin B12) deficiency. Blood. Sep 15 2008;112(6):2214-21. doi:10.1182/blood-2008-03-040253
  • Silverstein WK, Lin Y, Dharma C, Croxford R, Earle CC, Cheung MC. Prevalence of Inappropriateness of Parenteral Vitamin B12 Administration in Ontario, Canada. JAMA Internal Medicine. 2019;179(10):1434-1436. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2019.1859

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