Intramuscular Injection

Definition - What does Intramuscular Injection mean?

Intramuscular (IM) injection is a route of administration in which a needle is injected into a large muscle site. The main sites of administration are:

  • Dorsogluteal (buttocks) muscle
  • Deltoid (upper arm)
  • Vastus lateralis (thigh) muscle
  • Sometimes the ventrogluteal (below the hip) muscle is used

The other two types of injection are subcutaneous (into the fatty tissue below the skin) and intradermal (into the top layer of skin). IM injections provide some advantages since muscle has more blood vessels that are also larger than used in the two other types of injections. IM injections allow the body to absorb drug quickly and can hold larger volumes.

FertilitySmarts explains Intramuscular Injection

IM injection sites can hold up to 5 milliliters of drug which is useful for drugs that require a large volume.

Common fertility medications that are given via IM injection include:

  • Synthetic human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG)
  • Lupron Depot
  • Progesterone

Some drugs that are injected IM may be irritating to the muscle. The Z-track technique is used to reduce pain. This is when the skin is pulled and pushed gently away from the injection site while the administration is given. Other methods to reduce pain include rotating injection sites, using cold or warm compresses to the injection site, and bringing drugs to room temperature before administration.


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