Certain medications are administered as injections. These medications may be given this way for a number of reasons. Some drugs need to be injected so that they are not degraded in the stomach or to get them into the bloodstream faster. Injections can be given intramuscularly (IM) or subcutaneously (SQ or SC). Intramuscular injections are given directly into a muscle while subcutaneous injections are administered into the fatty tissue below the skin.
The vials that contain medicines for injection are sterile, and precautions need to be taken to keep them that way. It may seem intimidating to draw a dose out of a sterile vial and administer an injection, but by following our tips, you’ll become a pro in no time.
This guide provides an overview of the syringe, a video on giving yourself a subcutaneous injection, and a step-by-step guide.
How do I give a subcutaneous injection?
How to give a subcutaneous injection
• A subcutaneous (SC) injection deposits medication into the fat tissue below the skin.
• You can inject into the:
• Abdomen (except for 1 inch around the navel)
• Upper outer area of thighs
• A family member or caregiver may also inject into:
• Upper outer of the arms
Change where you give the injection each time. The new site should be at 1-2 inches away from the last injection site.
Preparing your injection
1 - Wash your hands with soap and water.
2 - Remove foil (if this is the first time entering the vial) and clean the rubber stopper of the vial with an alcohol swab.
3 - With the vial upright, put the needle into the rubber stopper.
4 - Turn the vial upside down and pull back the plunger to beyond the prescribed dose level. Make sure the end of the needle is in the liquid.
5 - “Flick” syringe to remove any air bubble with your fingers or a pen.
6 - Move the plunger to the prescribed dose level on the syringe.
1 - Clean the injection site with an alcohol swab. Allow the skin to dry.
2 - Pick up the syringe and remove the needle cover, if needed. Hold the syringe with the needle up and push the plunger just slightly so that you can see a drop of liquid at the end of the needle.
3 - Pinch your skin and fat tissue with your non-dominant hand.
4 - Hold the syringe in your dominant hand, as if holding a pencil, one inch above the injection side at a 90 degree angle to the skin. Quickly dart (stab) the needle through the skin into the fat tissue.
5 - Use your non-dominant hand to slowly push down on the plunger to inject the medication.
6 - Put the alcohol swab or tissue on your skin near the needle and quickly pull the needle out. You may have slight bleeding from the site. This usually means you have a broken a small blood vessel under the skin. Press gently on the site.
If you have any questions, please call or stop by to speak with one of our knowledgeable pharmacists.