Skye Schulte, MS, MPH
An intramuscular (IM) injection is a shot. The needle goes into the muscle to deliver medication. This is usually done by a doctor or nurse. Sometimes, your doctor may teach you to inject yourself. IM injections are deeper than injections given under the skin.
Some medications are better absorbed when given in the muscle. Other medications may be given in the muscle if you are unable to take them by mouth.
Some examples of medications given using an IM injection:
Complications associated with IM injections are:
Depending on the medication, there is usually some discomfort at the injection site. Soreness in the muscle is also common.
Tips for minimizing pain include:
for general care.
Call your doctor if any of the following occur:
If you think you have an emergency, call for medical help right away.
American Academy of Family Physicians Family Doctor
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
Canadian Diabetes Association
Administer intramuscular, subcutaneous, and intradermal injections. Brookside Associates Multimedia Edition website. Available at: http://www.brooksidepress.org/Products/Administer_IM_SQ_and_ID_Injections/lesson_2_Section_1.htm. Accessed May 22, 2013.
Intramuscular injection (IM). Cincinnati Children's Hospital website. Available at:
http://www.cincinnatichildrens.org/health/i/intramuscular-injection/. Updated October 2010. Accessed May 22, 2013.
Selecting, evaluating, and using sharps disposal containers website. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at:
http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/97-111. Accessed May 22, 2013.
Last reviewed May 2013 by Brian Randall, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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