Pronounced: Sub-q-TAIN-ee-us In-JEK-shun
by Skye Schulte, MS, MPH
A subcutaneous (sub-Q) injection is a shot that delivers medicine into the layer of fat between the skin and the muscle. This type of injection can be given by a healthcare professional, or a patient can self-inject.
Reasons for Procedure
Some medicines need to be injected because they are not effective if taken by mouth. Subcutaneous injections are an easy way to deliver this type of medicine. Examples of medicines given by sub-Q injection include:
Possible Complications TOP
Any break in the skin can increase the risk of infection. However, following the steps will help prevent infection.
What to Expect TOP
Prior to Procedure
Giving the Subcutaneous Injection
General Injection Tips
Will It Hurt?
The needles for sub-Q injection are very thin and short, so pain is usually minimal. You may have some soreness later.
Tips for Minimizing Injection Pain
Call Your Doctor TOP
Contact your doctor if any of the following occurs:
In case of an emergency, call for medical help right away.
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease: National Institutes of Health
NIH Clinical Center
Cancer Care Ontario
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How do I administer Lovenox? The Children’s Hospital (Denver, CO) website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
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National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease, National Institutes of Health website. Available at: http://www2.niddk.nih.gov/. Accessed October 14, 2005.
Last reviewed November 2012 by Kim Carmichael, MD
Last Updated: 11/26/2012