How Do I Give Myself Injections of Prescription Medicine?

Prescription Medicine injection
Mukund Vasudevan/Flickr/Creative Commons

Question: How Do I Give Myself Injections of Prescription Medicine?

I need to begin medication that requires daily injections I have to administer myself. I’m afraid of doing it wrong and I’m nervous that it will be painful. Is there a “right” way to do this?


For many women with PCOS, daily injections are a necessity. Certain medications, such as insulin and fertility drugs, are only able to be administered through an injection, making it necessary to learn how to administer them.

Giving an injection may sound intimidating, but is actually a very simple skill to learn.

Before You Begin

There are some things you should know before giving your first injection. Having this checklist of injectable best practices can be helpful for remembering the smaller details, like how to prepare for the injection and how to dispose of the needles.

Types of Injections

In general, there are two ways an injection can be administered, subcutaneously or intramuscularly.

A subcutaneous injection is administered with a tiny needle directly into the fatty tissue below the skin. This is how insulin and some fertility treatments are given.

There are several options for subcutaneous injection sites, including about an inch below the belly button on the lower abdomen, the front of the thigh, and the fleshy back of the upper arm as well. It does not matter which site you choose unless your doctor gives you specific instructions.

An intramuscular injection is given into the muscle below that fatty layer and can be a little trickier. This is how many fertility treatments are administered.

There are four main areas for intramuscular injection sites: the buttocks, thigh, hip or upper arm.

Easing The Pain

Reducing the pain of the injection is a common concern of everyone beginning injectable medications.

Besides icing the area, there are several other things you can try.

Selecting the correct site and needle size is helpful. During a subcutaneous injection, you will want to place the needle into an area that has extra subcutaneous fat. A larger needle gauge (or thinner in width) and length is required.

An intramuscular injection requires you to physically mark out the correct site on one of the large muscle groups. Larger needle, both in size and thickness, are necessary to penetrate the deeper muscles.

With intramuscular injections, try to keep the muscle as relaxed as possible by first getting into a comfortable position. This will reduce the pain of the injection.

Make sure to keep an eye out for any side effects which can indicate a possible infection or other complications. Signs to look for include redness, swelling, heat or drainage at the injection site. Report anything you are concerned about to your doctor or nurse.

Continue Reading