Successful sublingual cobalamin treatment in a child with short-bowel syndrome

J Pediatr Pharmacol Ther. 2014 Jan;19(1):60-3. doi: 10.5863/1551-6776-19.1.60.


Vitamin B12 (B12) is essential for deoxyribonucleic acid synthesis, to maintain normal hematologic and neurologic functions. Studies suggest that cobalamin deficiency in children is more common than previously recognized. Main causes are decreased intake, abnormal absorption, and inborn errors of metabolism. The classic treatment for cobalamin deficiency is intramuscular administration of B12. There are no data concerning the use of alternative routes of cobalamin administration in children. This report shares the experience of sublingual administration of B12 to a patient with short-bowel syndrome and B12 malabsorption. We report the case of successful treatment of cobalamin deficiency by sublingual administration in a 9-year-old patient who had undergone intestinal resection and jejunum-colon, with anastomosis of 32 cm of residual small intestine and absence of distal jejunum and ileocecal junction. We determined a B12 deficiency because low serum cobalamin levels (<200 pg/mL) were shown in 2 consecutive tests (130 pg/mL and 170 pg/mL). The patient presented with neither clinical nor hematological manifestations. He received sublingual cobalamin preparation, 1000-mcg sublingual nuggets per day for 1 month. Normalization of serum cobalamin was obtained (790 pg/mL) after 1 month of treatment. The sublingual route of administration not only improved the quality of life of this patient by avoiding monthly painful injections but also reduced the cost of treatment and the number of hospital visits.

Keywords: cobalamin; pediatric; short-bowel syndrome; sublingual administration; vitamin B12 deficiency.

Publication types

  • Case Reports