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Instructions for subcutaneous injection

  • This information is intended as a reference for Dana-Farber patients or family members who have already talked to their doctor or nurse and been shown how to give subcutaneous injections. If you have any questions about the correct way to administer an injection, please contact your health care team before attempting to do this on your own.

    1. Obtain supplies.
    2. Once you have all your supplies, clean the work surface with isopropyl alcohol and wash your hands.
    3. Remove the plastic cap or peel back the paper and attach the needle to the syringe without touching the hub of needle as you have been shown.
    4. If you have pre-filled syringes, omit steps 4 through 7. Open the vial and wipe the top with an alcohol wipe.
    5. Draw plunger back to proper dosage.
    6. Push the needle through the top of the vial and invert the vial. Inject the air from the syringe into the vial.
    7. Allow medication to fill the syringe; pull back gently if necessary, to proper dosage. Check for bubbles. If they exist, gently tap the syringe with your finger until they rise to the top. Then gently push up the plunger to expel the air. Recap the needle without touching the tip of the needle.
    8. Choose your injection site. DO NOT use the same area for each injection — rotate sites. Avoid areas that are inflamed, edematous, scarred or covered by a mole, birthmark or other lesion.
    9. Clean your skin with an alcohol wipe, using a circular motion, working outwards. Allow area to dry.
    10. Remove the cap and hold the needle at a 45° angle (as you would a pencil). Gently grasp skin with one hand and quickly insert the needle with the other.
    11. Pull back the plunger; if blood is seen in the syringe, remove the needle from the skin and change the needle to a clean one of the same size. It is alright to use the drug already in the syringe.
    12. Inject the drug slowly.
    13. Remove the needle and press the site gently with an alcohol swab or 2x2 gauze until the bleeding has stopped.
    14. Dispose of the needle and syringe in a hard-walled container (a detergent bottle with a lid is ideal). This bottle must be puncture proof (top and sides). Most often, this can be included in regular household waste. Please contact your local department of health prior to disposal.
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