Subcutaneous vitamin B12 administration using a portable infusion pump in cobalamin-related remethylation disorders: a gentle and easy to use alternative to intramuscular injections

Orphanet J Rare Dis. 2021 May 12;16(1):215. doi: 10.1186/s13023-021-01847-9.


Background: Cobalamin (cbl)-related remethylation disorders are a heterogeneous group of inherited disorders comprising the remethylation of homocysteine to methionine and affecting multiple organ systems, most prominently the nervous system and the bone marrow. To date, the parenteral, generally intramuscular, lifelong administration of hydroxycobalamin (OHCbl) is the mainstay of therapy in these disorders. The dosage and frequency of OHCbl is titrated in each patient to the minimum effective dose in order to account for the painful injections. This may result in undertreatment, a possible risk factor for disease progression and disease-related complications.

Results: We describe parenteral administration of OHCbl using a subcutaneous catheter together with a portable infusion pump in a home therapy setting in four pediatric patients with remethylation disorders, two patients with cblC, one patient with cblG, and one patient with cblE deficiency, in whom intramuscular injections were not or no longer feasible. The placement of the subcutaneous catheters and handling of the infusion pump were readily accomplished and well accepted by the patients and their families. No adverse events occurred. The use of a small, portable syringe driver pump allowed for a most flexible administration of OHCbl in everyday life. The concentrations of total homocysteine levels were determined at regular patient visits and remained within the therapeutic target range. This approach allowed for the continuation of OHCbl therapy or the adjustment of therapy required to improve metabolic control in our patients.

Conclusions: Subcutaneous infusion using a subcutaneous catheter system and a portable pump for OHCbl administration in combined and isolated remethylation disorders is safe, acceptable, and effective. It decreases disease burden in preventing frequent single injections and providing patient independence. Thus, it may promote long-term adherence to therapy in patients and parents.

Keywords: Cobalamin; Hydroxycobalamin; Infusion pump; Remethylation disorder; Subcutaneous catheter system; Subcutaneous infusion.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Disease Progression
  • Humans
  • Infusion Pumps
  • Injections, Intramuscular
  • Methionine*
  • Vitamin B 12*


  • Methionine
  • Vitamin B 12