Learn How to Inject: Subcutaneous Injections

Its easy for patients and caregivers to learn how to perform a subcutaneous, or "under-the-skin" injection.

This type of injection is often called a subq injection, pronounced as "sub Q" ("sub cue").

Check out our video below to watch Dr. Andy Thompson, a rheumatologist, demonstrate how to perform an injection using a 2mL vial of methotrexate and a 1cc insulin syringe.

The video lesson is applicable a variety of medications used in rheumatology that must be taken by subcutaneous injection.

Subcutaneous Injections

A subcutaneous injection involves poking a small needle just under the skin to deliver medicine into the "fatty tissue" below. The medicine is absorbed by the small blood vessels under the skin.

The way the body absorbs medication under the skin is similar to when you take a pill or tablet. In that case, small blood vessels in the stomach or bowel absorb the medication.

A subcutaneous injection is a different type of injection than those that deliver medicine into a muscle (an intramuscular injection) or directly into the blood (an intravenous injection).

Parts of a syringe

Each syringe has 4 basic parts:

  1. A needle cap (which is removed)
  2. A needle
  3. A barrel which contains the medicine
  4. And a plunger.

Video Lesson

Step-by-Step: How to Inject

There are five basic steps to performing a subcutaneous injection:

Methotrexate Injection Sheet

If you are injecting methotrexate, you might be interested in printing off step-by-step instructions for this medication:

Methotrexate Injection Sheet