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Discharge Instructions: Using an Auto-Injector

Your healthcare provider has prescribed a medicine that you will need to inject through your skin. This is done with an auto-injector. It is a small device with a hidden needle. The needle is activated by a spring. This makes giving yourself a shot easy. It also makes it easy for someone else to give you a shot if you can’t. Use any site on the side of your thigh. There is no need to look for the best injection site or to give the shot in the buttocks or arm. Be sure your family members and friends know this.

Auto injector showing needle inside pen

The auto-injector being jabbed into the side of the thigh

Home care

Inject your medicine as often as advised by your healthcare provider. Follow any instructions from your provider about the medicine. To give yourself a shot:

  • Remove the safety cap from the auto-injector. This activates it.

  • Point the tip of the auto-injector at the side of your thigh. Jab it against your thigh for 10 seconds. This pushes the needle into the thigh muscle and gives you a dose of medicine.

  • Dispose of the auto-injector as instructed.

  • If your auto-injector is for emergency medicine (such as epinephrine for an allergic reaction), call 911 and get to the nearest emergency department. Do not drive yourself.

Follow-up care

Follow up with your healthcare provider, or as advised.

When to seek medical care

Call 911right away if you have any of the following signs of severe allergic reaction:

  • Racing pulse

  • Wheezing or trouble breathing

  • Vomiting

  • Swollen lips, tongue, or throat

  • Itchy, blotchy skin or hives

  • Pale, cool, damp skin

  • Confusion

  • Drowsiness, fainting, or loss of consciousness


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