If you have CFS or M.E. you may be enraged if your B12 levels haven’t been tested ….

I have blogged about this before but it is worth revisiting because it is so shocking.

First of all please note, that if you have CFS or M.E., then your symptoms are also shared by B12 deficient patients. B12 deficiency symptoms can be reversed with B12 injections.

Secondly, the reason you may never have been tested for B12 deficiency may be because your doctor does not understand that macrocytosis/macrocytic anaemia (large red blood cells) is NOT ALWAYS PRESENT in B12 deficiency. In fact it can be very late stage when damage has already been done. This obsession with marcrocytosis is the focus of these harmful instructions to doctors.

The following screen shots are of NICE Guidelines – ‘Do not do recommendations’ for CFS/M.E.  It is a really tricky page to find (and has a habit of hiding) so here is the link;

https://www.nice.org.uk/donotdo/tests-for-vitamin-b12-deficiency-should-not-be-carried-out-unless-a-full-blood-count-and-mean-cell-volume-show-a-macrocytosis

For those who don’t know :-
NICE’s role is to improve outcomes for people using the NHS and other public health and social care services. We do this by:

  • Producing evidence based guidance and advice for health, public health and social care practitioners.

Taken from; https://www.nice.org.uk/about/what-we-do

There are other bullet point’s on this page but here they state ‘evidence based guidance ‘. I’d like to know what evidence backs up this particular set of DO NOT DO RECOMMENDATIONS for CFS and M.E. patients. I bet you would too.

There are many scenarios on this list which may be of interest to you but I am concentrating on the four which are connected to B12 deficiency. The date of all these recommendations is August 2007.

The first reads – Test for vitamin be 12 deficiency should not be carried out unless a full blood count and mean cell volume show a macrocytosis.


Screen Shot 2015-10-14 at 10.06.47

The second; Tests for folate levels should not be carried out unless a full blood count and mean cell volume show and macrocytosis.

Screen Shot 2015-10-14 at 09.59.49

No 3;  Tests for ferritin in adults should not be carried out unless a full blood count and other haematological indices suggest iron deficiency.

Screen Shot 2015-10-14 at 09.59.36

And finally; There is insufficient evidence for the use of supplements such as vitamin B12, vitamin C, coenzyme Q10, magnesium NADH (nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide) or multivitamins and minerals for people with chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME), and therefore they should not be prescribed for treating the symptoms of the condition. However, some people with CFS/ME  have reported finding this helpful as part of a self management strategy for their symptoms.

Screen Shot 2015-10-14 at 09.59.22

Sinister?

Many clinicians incorrectly believe that B12 deficiency always goes hand in hand with anaemia. This ignorance is reinforced by NICE Guidelines despite the wealth of journals stating the opposite.

You will see that all the symptoms of CFS and ME are also those of B12 deficiency http://www.b12deficiency.info/signs-and-symptoms/

This misunderstanding causes patients harm. Many patient’s never present with or experience macrocytosis (large red blood cells).

It may be a very late sign in B12 deficiency and the MCV can appear normal in a patient taking high doses of folic acid. How many B12 deficient pregnant women remain undiagnosed?

See here from the NHS;

http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/anaemia-vitamin-b12-and-folate-deficiency/pages/introduction.aspx
‘Some of these problems can also occur if you have a deficiency in vitamin B12 or folate, but do not have anaemia.’

 There are many journals on this;

2012. Misdiagnosed vitamin B12 deficiency a challenge to be confronted by use of modern screening markers
(….”but its absence does not rule out B12 deficiency and it is not a specific marker as using it solely would miss 84 percent cases. Its normal range is 80-96 fl.20 MCV can be within normal range despite B12 deficiency specially with concomitant iron deficiency,….)
http://www.jpma.org.pk/full_article_text.php?article_id=3808

1995. Neurological complications of acquired cobalamin deficiency: clinical aspects.(“Pharmacological doses of folic acid reverse the haematological abnormalities (eg a MCV) of Cbl deficiency. This may allow neuropathy to develop or progress and make recognition of deficiency more difficult. “)
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8534966?dopt=Abstract

To read more of these journals – or, perhaps we could call them EVIDENCE, please click to see the information compiled by @B12unme
http://www.twitlonger.com/show/n_1s0ae7m

If you have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia too, you may be very interested in this study which uses B12 and folate as treatment; ‘Dose-response relationship and long-lasting effects of B12/folic acid support a true positive response in the studied group of patients with ME/fibromyalgia.’
http://www.plosone.org/article/fetchObject.action?uri=info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0124648&representation=PDF

If you have never been tested and suspect a B12 deficiency please see; http://www.b12deficiency.info/what-to-do-next/

Raising awareness; http://www.b12deficiency.info/how-you-can-help/

Please consider signing and sharing this petition https://www.change.org/p/ian-hudson-please-make-our-life-saving-injectable-vitamin-b12-hydroxocobalamin-available-over-the-counter?

Best wishes

Tracey

Go away and die quietly, we’re busy

It is rare that I am lost for words – however, I expect after reading this, you might be struggling too.
The below text is a summary of a patient’s experience just last month. I am paraphrasing but the message is very clear. The quality of life of B12 deficient patients, at least to some doctors, simply doesn’t matter. Their pleading for help falls on deaf ears at this particular practice.

Are you sitting comfortably?  Here we go –

We had a meeting about treating your ‘normal’ serum B12 level of 334 with B12 injections but have decided that even though you tested positive to parietal cell antibodies years ago, that you are;

HEAVILY SYMPTOMATIC and can demonstrate that your;

7 cardiac arrests, 
One major heart attack, 
Pulmonary embolism, 
Over TEN lengthy stays in psychiatric hospital with added ECT treatment, 
A lifetime of complete exhaustion, 
Diagnoses of PND, CFS, fibromyalgia, ADHD, bipolar disorder, and, wait for it, – ‘Treatment resistant depression’ could all be directly related to B12 deficiency –

WE CANNOT POSSIBLY TREAT YOU WITH A HARMLESS, LIFE GIVING VITAMIN B12 INJECTION THAT YOU DESPERATELY NEED. 

We have decided that although we prescribe many chemical ’off license’ drugs to hundreds of people, including you, at this practice (and mainly to those patients with poor mental health), without batting an eyelid, that we cannot prescribe B12 injections to you because it would be considered to be ’OFF LICENSE’ and we might get slapped wrists.

We as a practice, are all sticking together in this so you have NOWHERE to go even though you have shown us there could be great risk to your health without B12.

We have completely ignored the NEQAS report you gave to us; 

http://www.ukneqas-haematinics.org.uk/content/News.asp?id=46
False normal B12 results and the risk of neurological damage (Please click for details)
“In the event of any discordance between clinical findings of B12 deficiency and a normal B12 laboratory result, then treatment should not be delayed. Clinical findings might include possible pernicious anaemia or neuropathy including subacute combined degeneration of the cord. We recommend storing serum for further analysis including MMA, or holotranscobalamin and intrinsic factor antibody analysis, and treating the patient immediately with parenteral B12 treatment.”

We have ignored the all the journals backing up your research.

We have also ignored the NHS website stating that many B12 deficient patients have within range results due to the inaccuracy of the serum B12 test;

http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Anaemia-vitamin-B12-and-folate-deficiency/Pages/Diagnosis.aspx
‘A particular drawback of testing vitamin B12 levels is that the current widely-used blood test only measures the total amount of vitamin B12 in your blood. This means it measures forms of vitamin B12 that are “active” and can be used by your body, as well as the “inactive” forms, which can’t. If a significant amount of the vitamin B12 in your blood is “inactive”, a blood test may show that you have normal B12 levels, even though your body cannot use much of it. There are some types of blood test that may help determine if the vitamin B12 in your blood can be used by your body, but these are not yet widely available.’

Instead of giving you HARMLESS, LIFE GIVING, B12 injections, we would rather you continue to take the countless, expensive and harmful drugs which we are completely happy to prescribe for you, despite your protestations that they don’t work. 

We are also completely happy with the labels we have given you, despite them being common misdiagnoses of vitamin B12 deficiency. 

We are rigid, we cannot muster any compassion or understanding and won’t do our own research, we simply can’t be bothered. We don’t care that you merely exist, have been chronically ill for decades and live less than half a life.

We do hope you understand our position? 

Now, can you run along and stop wasting our time? We are very busy and very important GP’s. We have lives to save, don’t cha know?
_____________________________________________________________________

Well what the hell do you do with that??

This patient is someone I know. I went to one shocking appointment with them.

I am completely astounded that this patient has the capacity to continue with life despite the trauma, pain and neglect they continue to endure.
This patient deserves care, compassion, understanding and B12, and quite frankly, an enormous medal!

During the appointment I attended, we challenged the GP when it was stated that, for this patient, B12 injections would be ‘Off License’.  There was no budging this unfeeling, uncaring, unknowing, cardboard cut out.

Can anyone enlighten me as to why or how b12 injections can be considered ‘off license’ for a heavily symptomatic B12 deficient patient?

Can anyone from the medical profession explain why exactly, patients have to jump through hoops to achieve a diagnosis of vitamin B12 deficiency? The current rationale almost completely ignores symptoms and decides everything on a blood test which is proven to be inaccurate.

Why is it that other conditions have no diagnostic blood test and yet the GP and specialist are completely confident in diagnosing based upon symptoms alone?

How can any clinician feel comfortable diagnosing ‘lab test free’ conditions such as Fibromyalgia, bipolar, schizophrenia, CFS, ME, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s etc, without fully and I mean FULLY, ruling out vitamin and mineral deficiencies? It just doesn’t make any sense.

There is something gravely wrong here and this horrendous, cockeyed situation has to come to an end soon, surely?

Although some of us have GP’s who treat us well for B12 deficiency, the shocking case detailed here is not isolated and is a tale to be continued……..

If you too are fighting complete ignorance please find support here;
https://www.facebook.com/groups/174928999276739

If you think you may be deficient please use this page;
http://www.b12deficiency.info/what-to-do-next/

If you want to help us to cut out the middle men who don’t, or won’t care – please sign and share and shout about this petition to help us treat ourselves –

https://www.change.org/p/ian-hudson-please-make-our-life-saving-injectable-vitamin-b12-hydroxocobalamin-available-over-the-counter?

Raising awareness; http://www.b12deficiency.info/how-you-can-help/

See below for more information on the common use of ’unlicensed medicines’.  A particular worry is that Metformin is being used for the treatment of urticaria as well as PCOS. I wonder if these prescribers are checking their patient’s B12 levels since this drug drags them down by stopping B12 absorption from food? I bet they’re not.

http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Polycystic-ovarian-syndrome/Pages/Treatment.aspx

Metformin isn’t licensed for treating PCOS in the UK, but because many women with PCOS have insulin resistance, it can be used “off-label” to encourage fertility and control the symptoms of PCOS.

http://www.ipswichandeastsuffolkccg.nhs.uk/Portals/1/Content/Members%20Area/Clinical%20Area/Medicine%20managment/Drugs%20and%20Therapeutics%20Advisory%20Group/Share%20care%20agreements/Valprorate.pdf

Preparations available and licensed indications
Valproate is available in the UK as sodium valproate (Epilim), licensed for epilepsy and semisodium valproate (Depakote), licensed for the acute treatment of mania.
Even though, neither formulation of valproate is licensed for use as a mood stabiliser, there is a significant body of evidence supporting its use.

B12-life-web