How to Say It: Sub-q-TAIN-ee-us In-JEK-shun
by Cynthia M. Johnson, MA
A subcutaneous (sub-Q) injection is a shot that delivers medicine into the layer of fat between the skin and the muscle. It may be given by a healthcare provider or it can be self-injected.
Reasons for Procedure
Some medicines are not as effective when taken by mouth. Sub-Q injections are an easy way to deliver this type of medicine. Some medicines given this way are:
Problems are rare, but all procedures have some risk. The doctor will go over some problems that could happen, such as:
What to Expect
Prior to Procedure
Giving the Injection
Will It Hurt?
Soreness is common after the injection.
Tips to Minimize Injection Pain
If the shots are for your child:
Call Your Doctor
Call the doctor if you have any problems, such as:
If you think you have an emergency, call for medical help right away.
Clinical Center—National Institues of Health
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease—National Institutes of Health
Canadian Diabetes Association
Cancer Care Ontario
How to give a subcutaneous injection. Johns Hopkins Arthritis Center website. Available at: https://www.hopkinsarthritis.org/patient-corner/how-to-give-a-subcutaneous-injection. Accessed November 18, 2021.
Selecting, evaluating, and using sharps disposal containers website. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention—National Institure for Occupational Safety and Health website. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/97-111. Accessed November 18, 2021.
Last reviewed November 2021 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Mary-Beth Seymour, RN
Last Updated: 11/18/2021
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