Environmental health officers at City of Wolverhampton Council are asking customers to be on their guard when undergoing Vitamin B12 treatments in non medical settings.

Acting on local reports, officers discovered that Vitamin B12 injections are being offered in some beauty parlours and aesthetic clinics in the city without a medical assessment for their suitability.

Investigations have found practitioners are obtaining prescriptions in their own name and then using them to treat customers without any proper medical assessment for suitability and informed consent. 

As with all prescription medicines, this is a breach of the Human Medicines Regulations 2012 and is a matter for enforcement by the MHRA (Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency). 

The action, known as self prescribing, is illegal and can have serious consequences for the customer, including anaphylactic reactions, infection and injury to nerves and blood vessels. 

It can also have implications for treatment in healthcare settings where professionals have insufficient information about a treatment that customers may have received elsewhere. This can lead to missed diagnoses or inadvertent over prescribing of medicines.

Anyone found to be carrying out self prescribing, for vitamin B12 or any other prescription medicine, will be referred for investigation by the MHRA.

Environmental health officers advise that a face to face consultation should always take place with a prescriber of the Vitamin B product when used in a non medical setting. Practitioners should go through a customer’s medical history and suitability for the treatment. 

Customers are being urged to use the following checklist when meeting with a practitioner: 

  • check the name of the product and whether it is licensed, and how and where it is made - products such as Hydroxocobalamin are authorised for use in the UK
  • check the practitioner’s qualifications, experience and whether they are trained to deliver aesthetics, such as injectables
  • check what insurance cover the practitioner has, such as General Liability Insurance.
  • check that the product is unopened before use and that it has a pharmacy dispensing label attached with your name on the label
  • don’t accept treatment on the day of the consultation. A prescription must be written and dispensed by a pharmacist, which takes time
  • remember that if you have any doubts, you have the right to change your mind and withdraw from undergoing the treatment

Vitamin B injections can help support people who may not get enough B vitamins from other sources, such as those who are pregnant, vegan, or have certain medical conditions that prevent vitamin B12 from being absorbed. Vitamin B12 is also frequently promoted for cosmetic and wellbeing purposes, including enhancing hair growth, improving energy and aiding sleep.

If people feel that they’re lacking in vitamins, officers advise them to seek medical advice regarding any deficiencies via their GP.

Councillor Craig Collingswood, City of Wolverhampton Council’s cabinet member for environment and climate change, said: “We have information to suggest potentially dangerous, self prescribed Vitamin B12 treatments are being administered in Wolverhampton. 

“These self prescribed treatments are illegal and putting people at risk. We would urge anyone with any information or concerns, or indeed any practitioners who want additional support, to contact our environmental health team without delay.” 
Any member of the public with any information or concerns, or any practitioners who want additional support, can contact City of Wolverhampton Council’s environmental health team via Environmental.Health@wolverhampton.gov.uk