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Discharge Instructions: Using an Auto-Injector

Auto injector showing needle inside pen

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

Your doctor has prescribed a medication 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 it easier for you to inject yourself or for someone else to inject you if you cannot. 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.

Home care

Inject your medication as often as advised by your doctor. Follow any instructions given by your health care provider pertaining to the medication you are injecting. To do this:

  • 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 medication.

  • 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 no drive yourself.

Follow-up care

Make a follow-up appointment as advised by our staff.

When to seek medical care

Call 911 right 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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