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Physician Tools > Inject using an Autoinjector

Performing an Injection Using an Auto injector

Watch our video on how to correctly give a subcutaneous injection using an autoinjector.

Video Explanation using the Autoinjector

Download our handy Injection Mat to guide you with your injection.

Using an Autoinjector to Inject Medicine Under the Skin

We’re going to teach you how to perform an injection under the skin using an autoinjector. This is also known as a subcutaneous injection or subq injection.
But there’s an important concept about these injections you need to understand. When you take a tablet the small blood vessels in the stomach and bowel absorb the medication. A subcutaneous injection leaves a small amount of medication under the skin. Just like in the stomach, the small blood vessels absorb the medicine but this time they’re in the skin!  So you can be assured that you aren’t injecting the medicine straight into the blood!
An auto injector is a device that is prefilled with medicine and will inject the medicine automatically with the push of a button. Many injectable medications come in autoinjectors.  Each autoinjector might look a little different but they are all the basically the same.
Each autoinjector has 3 basic parts:

  1. A needle cap (which is removed)
  2. A medication window which shows the medicine
  3. An activator button

We’re going to teach you how to inject using four basic steps:

  1. Step 1: Gathering your supplies
  2. Step 2: Choosing and preparing an injection site
  3. Step 3: Injecting the medicine
  4. Step 4: Disposing of the syringe

Step 1: Gather your supplies

At RheumInfo.com we’ve prepared a special “injection placemat”.  This will help to make sure you’ve got all of the necessary supplies. Place your “injection mat” on a clean table or surface.  You’ll need: Your autoinjector.  If it has been in the refrigerator it’s a good idea to let it warm up for 30 minutes.  If you’re not sure, talk to your doctor or pharmacist. You’ll also need an alcohol swab, a clean gauze or tissue, and finally a puncture proof “sharps container” to dispose of the unused autoinjector.If you’re missing any of the supplies, talk to your local pharmacist.

Step 2: Choosing & preparing an injection site

A subcutaneous injection can be given into the thigh, abdomen or upper arm. It’s best to choose a different site for each injection at least an inch away from a previous injection.  You can easily inject into your abdomen or thighs but you’ll probably need help from another person if you want to inject into your upper arms. If you’re injecting into your abdomen stay away from the 2 inches around your belly button. Don’t inject into an area that is tender, bruised, red, hard, or one that has scars or stretch marks. Finally, it’s a good idea to rotate your injection sites.  For example, this week you might place the injection in your thigh and next week your abdomen. You can also use the upper arm if someone else is injecting.

Step 3: Injecting the Medicine

Remove the needle cap from the autoinjector. Place the autoinjector on the injection site at a 90 degree angle. Push the autoinjector firmly against the skin to “unlock” the device. Press the button on the autoinjector to activate the device. The injector will now inject the medicine under the skin. Some autoinjectors will “click” when the injections are finished. It’s best to count to 15 slowly (one one thousand, two one thousand). When you’ve reached 15 remove the autoinjector and look at the medication window. It should have changed colour.Apply pressure with a cotton gauze or tissue for about 10 seconds. It’s normal to see a tiny drop of blood.

Step 4: Disposing of the autoinjector

It’s important to dispose of used sharp syringes in a proper container. These containers can be found at your local pharmacy.  They are often referred to as “Sharps containers”. Don’t ever put the needle cap back on the needle as you or someone else may accidentally poke themselves with the needle.  Simply take the used autoinjector and place it in the Sharp’s container.  Store the container in a safe place out of reach of small children. When the container is 2/3 full, tape the lid closed and discard of it as instructed by your local pharmacist.

And that’s it.  Giving a small injection under the skin is really just that easy. If you have any questions or concerns please talk to your doctor or your nurse.  Thank-you for watching and we hope you’ve found this video to be useful.  For more information please visit our website – www.RheumInfo.com.