A thiamine injection is a method of administering vitamin B1. Thiamine is available in oral supplements, but an injection may be prescribed when an oral method would be insufficient or inappropriate for treatment. It is injected into a vein or muscle, and redness, swelling, or discomfort may occur at the site of injection; other side effects include sweating, weakness, and nausea. A thiamine injection is relatively safe, but if there is any suspicion of an overdose, a person should contact an emergency room or poison control center immediately. Allergies to vitamin B1 are rare, but any patient with a known allergy to vitamins in the B complex should notify their doctor before using a thiamine injection.
The frequency and dosage of the injections is left to the prescribing doctor's discretion, but a typical patient may expect to perform a thiamine injection three times per day. A daily recommended dosage in the United States (US) for teenagers and adults can range between .8 mg and 1.5 mg, depending on the gender, age, and weight of the patient. Different countries have varying recommendations for maximum daily dosage.
Non-human animals can have thiamine deficiencies, and injections are generally the preferred method of treatment. Dosages for large animals, such as cows, can be as large as 1,000 mg over a two-day period. Appropriate treatment for an animal typically should be determined by a veterinarian.
Vitamin B1 is readily available in many food sources, so a human eating a healthy diet will not typically require any thiamine supplements. There are, however, conditions that increase the body's need for vitamin B1. Patients suffering from liver disease, burns, alcoholism, or continuous stress may have a thiamine deficiency. Many diseases and procedures that inhibit gastrointestinal functions can result in thiamine deficiencies.
Insufficient thiamine can develop into serious conditions, such as Beriberi or Wernicke's encephalopathy. The causes of vitamin B1 deficiencies are numerous, but the deficiency itself is easily diagnosed with a blood test. Many times, these dangers can be predicted and thiamine can be prescribed in advance.
Thiamine is soluble in water and may require mixing at home. It is important for a person to follow both the prescribing physician's instructions and any directions on the vitamin's label or packaging. If in doubt, a person should call a physician for clarification. Generally, thiamine should be stored at room temperature, away from light and heat sources. Any needles or syringes used for injection should be immediately discarded in a hard container, and a clean needle should be used for every injection.