The injection of a drug into a muscle is known as an intramuscular injection or IM. It is one of the various approaches used in medicine to administer drugs via the parenteral route. Compared to subcutaneous or intradermal injections, intramuscular injections may be favoured because muscles have larger and more abundant blood arteries than subcutaneous tissue, which promotes quicker absorption. The first-pass metabolism effect that affects oral drugs does not apply to intramuscular injections of medication. 

The gluteal muscle in the buttock and the deltoid muscle in the upper arm are frequent locations for intramuscular injections. The vastus lateralis muscle of the thigh is frequently used in newborns. To lessen the discomfort for the patient, the injection site must be cleansed prior to administration. The injection is then given in a quick, darting motion. Depending on the injection site, the maximum volume that can be injected into the muscle is typically 2 to 5 millilitres. You shouldn’t pick a place that exhibits symptoms of an infection or muscle atrophy. Intramuscular injections shouldn’t be administered to folks who have myopsthies or coagulation issues. 

Pain, redness, and swelling or inflammation surrounding the injection site are frequent side effects of intramuscular injections. Most of the time, these side effects are minor and only last a few days. Rarely, injury to the nerves or blood vessels around the injection site might cause excruciating pain or paralysis. Intramuscular injections can cause localised infections like abscesses and gangrene if the adequate technique is not used. Although pulling back on the syringe before injection, or aspiration, was once advised to prevent accidental administration into a vein, some nations no longer advise it for the majority of injection sites. 

Intramuscular Injection Uses

Medication administration frequently involves an intramuscular injection. Medication is given intramuscularly and usually enters the bloodstream fast and bypasses the first pass metabolism that occurs when given orally. The drug might not be completely accessible because it still needs to be absorbed from the muscle over time. Given that the injection location (a muscle vs a vein) is substantially larger, intramuscular injection is less intrusive than an intravenous injection and typically takes less time. Additionally to being injected directly into the muscle, medications can also be released slowly and continuously over a longer period of time by using depot injections. 

Ketamine is one of the chemicals that can be administered intramuscularly for amusement. The need for skill and technique, pain from injections, worry or fear (particularly in youngsters), and difficulties with self-administration are all drawbacks of intramuscular administration, which restricts its usage in outpatient care.

Injections into the muscles are a typical way to give vaccines, particularly inactivated vaccines. However, it’s been calculated that 20 injections are required to administer medication or other forms of therapy for every intramuscular injection of a vaccination. This can include drugs like immunoglobulin, antibiotics, and hormones like testosterone and medroxyprogesterone. A person can inject herself with epinephrine using an epinephrine autoinjector in the event of a severe allergic response or anaphylaxis.

Benefits of Intramuscular Injection

  • 1. Drug absorption is swift and consistent, especially with watery solutions
  • 2. And quick onset of effect in comparison to oral and subcutaneous methods
  • 3. IM injection avoids the drug’s first-pass metabolism.
  • 4. It also stays away from the gastrointestinal elements that control medication absorption.
  • 5. Possesses potency and efficacy comparable to those of intravenous medication delivery systems.
  • 6. For emergency situations like severe psychosis and status epilepticus, it is quite effective
  • 7. Depot injections enable prolonged, steady, and gradual medication action.
  • 8. Compared to the subcutaneous approach, a substantial amount of the medication can be supplied.

Complications of Intramuscular Injection

Having some soreness after intramuscular injection is normal. A more serious outcome could, however, be indicated by some symptoms. If you encounter any of the following, contact your doctor or a healthcare provider straight away:

  • 1. Acute discomfort at the injection site
  • 2. Feeling tingly or numb
  • 3. Bruising, warmth, or oedema at the injection site
  • 4. At the injection site, drainage
  • 5. Ongoing bleeding
  • 6. Symptoms of an allergic reaction, like swelling in the face or difficulty breathing

An injection, specifically an intramuscular injection, may cause you some worry because of the large needle. Take your time and go through the stages multiple times until you are confident in the process.

You can request that your doctor or pharmacist walk you through the process in advance. 

How to Give an Injection Intramuscularly

The correct intramuscular injection technique should be taught and practised by everyone who delivers intramuscular injections.

Injection site and needle size are affected by a variety of factors. A patient’s age and size, as well as the dosage and type of medicine, are important factors to consider.

If your doctor or pharmacist specifies specific needles and syringes, you will be able to administer your medication properly.

As long as the needle is long enough, it should not cut through the blood vessels or nerves around the muscle. Generally, adults should use needles that are between one and 1.5 inches long, whereas children should use needles shorter than that. Their gauge will range from 22 to 25 gauge.

Follow these steps to administer an intramuscular injection securely:

Wash your hands first

Hands should be washed with warm water and soap to reduce the risk of infection. Cleaning your hands thoroughly from back to front, between your fingers, and behind your fingernails is important.

It is recommended to lather for 20 seconds, or the length of time it takes to repeat “Happy Birthday.” twice, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Compile all required materials.

Assemble the supplies listed below:

  • 1. Medicine in a syringe and needle
  • 2. Alcohol smocks
  • 3. Gauze
  • 4. A container with a lid that can be punctured to dump spent syringes and needles (typically a red, plastic sharps container)
  • 5. Bandages

Discover where to inject.

Spread the skin at the injection site between two fingers to identify the muscle you want to inject into and isolate it.

The individual receiving the injection needs to assume a position that is cosy, makes it simple to access the area, and maintains the muscles relaxed.

Make the injection site clean.

With an alcohol swab, clean the intended injection location, then let the skin air dry.

Fill the syringe with the medicine.

  • 1. Take off the cap. Make a note of the date the vial was first opened if the vial or pen is multidose. To clean the rubber stopper, use an alcohol swab.
  • 2. The syringe with air. To fill the syringe with air to the level of the amount you’ll be administering, pull back the plunger. The reason for doing this is that since the vial is a vacuum, you must add an equivalent amount of air to control the pressure. The drug is also simpler to draw into the syringe as a result of this. You can still get the drug out of the vial if you neglect to do this step.
  • 3. Place air inside the vial. Push the needle through the rubber stopper at the top of the vial after removing the needle’s cap. Fill the vial to the top with air. In order to keep the needle clean, take care not to touch it.
  • 4. Removing the medicine Pulling back on the plunger will allow the proper dosage of medication to be withdrawn. To achieve this, flip the vial and syringe upside down so that the needle points upward.
  • 5. Get rid of air bubbles. As you gently press the plunger to force the air bubbles out, tap the syringe to force any bubbles to the top.

Use a syringe to self-inject.

Holding the needle in your darting hand, stab it 90 degrees into the muscle. It is important to insert the needle rapidly but carefully. Never insert the plunger.

Inject the drug.

To inject the drug into the muscle, slowly push the plunger.

Get rid of the needle.

Quickly remove the needle and place it in a sharps container that can withstand punctures. Never replace the needle’s cap. Any drugstore will sell you a red container called a sharps container. Needles and syringes from medical waste are collected in it. Any of these items shouldn’t be disposed of in regular rubbish because needles might be dangerous for those who handle trash.

Press down on the injection site.

Apply mild pressure with a piece of gauze to the injection site. To aid in the medication’s absorption into the muscle, you can even gently rub the area. It’s typical to notice a little bleeding. Apply a bandage if required.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Where do you give an intramuscular injection?

Exposing the upper arm Starting from the bone and extending over the upper arm, this muscle creates an upside-down triangle. At the armpit level, the triangle’s point is located. The muscle triangle’s centre should receive the injection.

What are the 3 types of injections?

Intradermal (ID), subcutaneous (SC), and intramuscular (IM) injections are the three primary delivery methods. Each kind targets a particular layer of the skin: Subcutaneous injections are given in the layer of fat just below the skin.

Why are intramuscular injections painful?

While the mechanical and chemical actions of medications can induce noticeable pain and suffering during and after injections, the insertion of needles into the skin can also cause this type of discomfort. 40% of individuals in one research said intramuscular (IM) injections were really uncomfortable.

What angle is an IM injection?

All of the vaccines should be injected into the muscle tissue at a 90-degree angle.

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