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Self-injection: Intramuscular

BY LEARNING SELF INJECTION, YOU WILL…

  1. Have fewer trips to the clinic.
  2. Not have to wait.
  3. Receive the injection in your own home 

HOW DO I STORE MY MEDICATION?

  • Ask your pharmacist about any specific storage instructions.
  • Always store your medicine out of reach and out of sight of children. 

IS SELF-INJECTION RIGHT FOR ME?

Most likely if:

  • You are interested in self-injection.
  • You are not nervous.
  • You have steady hands.
  • You pay attention to details.
  • You like to do things on your own. 

EQUIPMENT NEEDED

  • Medication Vial
  • Syringe
  • Needle (of the correct size)
  • Alcohol Swab or Alcohol and Cotton Balls
  • Bandage
  • Sharps Disposal

SPECIAL NOTE FOR SUBCUTANEOUS INJECTIONS

Some medications are ready to use or you may need to draw the medication into the syringe.

  • The needle is short.
  • You will receive all the supplies.
  • Make sure you are injecting at the proper site.

TIP OF A NEEDLE

The flat, slanted part of the needle (bevel) should be pointed up to help the needle go easily through the skin.

INTRAMUSCULAR INJECTION (IM)

Your physician has ordered Intramuscular Injection to be given.

The needle passes through the skin and subcutaneous fatty tissue, then medication is injected directly into the muscle. 

TECHNIQUES TO WITHDRAW MEDICATION FROM AN AMPULE

  • Open the medication ampule using a gauze pad to protect your fingers. Lightly flick the top of the ampule to remove any medication.
  • Surround the marked neck with your protective pad then pull back firmly on the top to snap the ampule open away from your body. Dispose of the ampule top in a sharps container.
  • You must use a filter needle for withdrawing medication from an ampule to keep any glass particles from entering the syringe.
  • You can withdraw medication from the ampule either upside down or, with a long needle, with the ampule upright.
  • Insert the needle into the center of the opening, to avoid contamination and dripping of medication. Do not touch the rim of the ampule with the tip or the shaft of the needle.
  • Pull back on the plunger, keeping the tip of the needle submerged in the fluid within the ampule.
  • Tap the syringe, if necessary, to move air to the top of the syringe. Pull the plunger back slightly to remove any medication from the needle.

SITES FOR SELF-INTRAMUSCULAR INJECTION

1. Thigh

Injection site is the middle third and anterior lateral aspect of the thigh (vastus lateralis).

2. Hip

Correct Place to Give Shot in the Right Hip

It doesn’t matter which site you choose unless your physician gives you specific instructions. Please make sure to rotate your sites.

Do not inject into the same area with every injection.

Do not inject into scar tissue or bruising on the skin.

The Correct Way to Hold a Syringe is 90 Degree.

STEPS FOR INTRAMUSCULAR INJECTION

  • Gather supplies (Double check for correct medication and dosage).
  • Wash hands with warm water and soap.
  • Choose a site for the injection. Sites include: arm, leg or buttock.
  • Use 5 cc syringe and 20 - 23 gauge, 1 - 2 inch needle.
  • Use 2 inch needle if you are obese to ensure that medication is injected into a large muscle.
  • Be in a sitting position.
  • Draw up medication into syringe (don’t forget to push out excess air with the plunger). Some medications need to use two needles. Use the larger needle to draw up the medicine. Then, change the needle to the thinner one for the injection.
  • Do not touch the needle.
  • Wipe injection site with alcohol swab in circular motion & allow the skin to dry.
  • Pinch a piece of skin and tissue to inject into.
  • Insert the needle through the skin at a 90 degree angle.
  • Take hold of syringe with free hand to stabilize.
  • Carefully pull back on the plunger slightly (aspirate) and check for blood in the syringe.
  • If there is no blood, push plunger to inject medication.
  • If there is blood, remove the needle, throw away and start over.
  • After injecting the medication, remove the needle and place in sharps container.
  • Place alcohol swab over injection site to stop fluid from coming back out. Then place bandage over injection site. 

INTRAMUSCULAR INJECTION SAFETY TIPS

  1. Double check for correct medication and dosage.
  2. Insert the needle.
  3. Remember to aspirate (remove needle if you see blood, discard and start over).
  4. Dispose of used needle and syringe right away in proper sharps container.

Do not recap the needle.

DISPOSAL OF MATERIALS

Needles and syringes should be put in a sharps container given to you.

Please return the container to the clinic when it is 2/3 full.

© Copyright 2023 Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi. All rights reserved.

This information is provided by Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, part of Mubadala Healthcare, and is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or health care provider. Please consult your health care provider for advice about a specific medical condition.

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