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:
care required for the injection site.
Call your doctor if any of the following occur:
If you think you have an emergency, call for medical help right away.
Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians
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 August 27, 2014.
Intramuscular injection (IM). Cincinnati Children's Hospital website. Available at:
http://www.cincinnatichildrens.org/health/i/intramuscular-injection. Updated December 2013. Accessed August 27, 2014.
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. Updated June 6, 2014. Accessed August 27, 2014.
Last reviewed June 2015 by Michael Woods, 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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