Intramuscular Injection (Self-injection)
(IM Injection; Injection, IM; Injection, Intramuscular)
Pronounced: In-trah-MUSS-q-ler In-JEK-shun
by Skye Schulte, MS, MPH
An intramuscular (IM) injection is a shot. The needle goes into the muscle to deliver medicine. This is usually done by a doctor or nurse. Sometimes, your doctor may teach you to inject yourself. IM injections are deeper than subcutaneous injections (given under the skin).
Reasons for Procedure
Some medicines are better absorbed when given in the muscle; if taken by mouth, they may not work. Other medicines may be given in the muscle if you are unable to take them by mouth.
Some examples of medicines given using an IM injection:
Possible Complications TOP
Complications associated with IM injections are:
What to Expect TOP
Prior to Procedure
Description of Procedure
To inject yourself:
Will It Hurt?
Depending on the medicine, there is usually some discomfort at the injection site. Soreness in the muscle is also common.
Tips for minimizing pain include:
Care After Injection
Follow your doctor's instructions for general care.
Call Your Doctor TOP
Contact your doctor if any of the following occur:
In case of an emergency, call for medical help right away.
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
Canadian Diabetes Association
Bielanowski DA. Intramuscular injection. Encyclopedia of Nursing and Allied Health: Intramuscular Injection. BNet website. Available at: http://findarticle.... Accessed June 10, 2008.
Intramuscular injection (IM). Cincinnati Children's Hospital website. Available at: http://www.cincinn.... Updated September 2007. Accessed June 10, 2008.
Selecting, evaluating, and using sharps disposal containers website. US Health And Human Services website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/sharps1.html. Accessed October 14, 2005.
What are the different methods of drug delivery? Johns Hopkins Arthritis Center website. Available at: http://www.hopkins-arthritis.org/patient-corner/. Accessed June 10, 2008.
Last reviewed September 2012 by Brian Randall, MD
Last Updated: 09/26/2012