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.
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:
Any break in the skin can increase the risk of infection. However, following the steps will help prevent infection.
The needles for sub-Q injection are very thin and short, so pain is usually minimal. You may have some soreness later.
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
Health And Human Services. Selecting, evaluating, and using sharps disposal containers website. Available at:
http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/97-111. Accessed October 23, 2007.
How do I administer Lovenox?
The Children’s Hospital (Denver, CO) website. Available at:
http://www2.uchsc.edu/thrombophilia/docs/Administer_LOVENOX.pdf. Accessed on October 23, 2007.
Johns Hopkins Arthritis Center website. Available at:
http://www.johnshopkinshealthalerts.com/alerts/diabetes/JohnsHopkinsHealthAlertsDiabetes_949-1.html. Accessed October 23, 2007.
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 December 2013 by Peter Lucas, 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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