Why Would You Be Administering Sub-Cue Injections?
Subcutaneous meaning under the skin. In this type of injection, a short needle is used to inject a drug into the tissue layer between the skin and the muscle. Medication given this way is usually absorbed more slowly than if injected into a vein, sometimes over a period of 24 hours.
This type of injection is used when other methods of administration might be less effective. For example, some medications can’t be given by mouth because acid and enzymes in the stomach would destroy them.
Other methods, like intravenous injection, can be difficult and costly. For small amounts of delicate drugs, a subcutaneous injection can be a useful, safe, and convenient method of getting a medication into your body.
There is a wide range of fertility drugs that use subcutaneous injections. These include Gonal F, Follistim, hcG, Lupron, and Antagon. While some people will do unmedicated cycles, more people doing IUI or IVF will use injectable medications.
What You Can Expect
The sub-cue injections, most commonly Follistim and hcG are usually prepared as a powder in one vial with an accompanying vial of sterile water. Mix them according to your doctor’s instructions after swabbing the top of each vial with an alcohol wipe. Take your time. Hold the needle upright and flick it a few times to get the bubbles to rise to the surface. Push them out. Gently (don’t waste any of that expensive medication!).
When the time comes to give yourself the shot, take an ice cube to rub it on the area that is going to be injected for at least a minute.This will help to numb the spot. You really want to numb the area. But don’t do this step until you’re ready to give yourself the shot. There’s nothing worse than going through freezer burn only to have to do it again and again because you don’t feel prepared for the shot.
When your chosen area is numb, wipe it off with a final medicated pad. The best place for the shot is the stomach area next to the belly button as this area usually has more “meat” making it ideal for sub-cue injections. Then take the needle and line it up so it is lightly touching your skin. Pull back your hand at least an inch, look away (if you prefer not to watch), and plunge down. You’ll need to glance down and check that the needle is in. Then look away again and slowly depress the plunger. Pull out and immediately cover the site with the gauze pad (there may be a spot of blood). Press a hot water bottle to the site and hold it there for a half hour or so. The heat will help (specifically, the wet heat will help) minimize pain. Follistim is sometimes nicknamed Follisting because it has a burn afterwards. I’m sure there are other comments below giving you a heads-up on the specifics of other drugs.
Watch your television show and relax. You did it. You got through the first shot. Or maybe it’s your second or third shot. Or maybe you return here every time you need to do an injection. That’s okay too. You’re amazing and you’re already a fantastic mother doing so much to bring a baby into the world. Hang in there. The injections are terrible, but they’re worth it if they bring you closer to your family.
Complications of Subcutaneous Injections
If you’ll be doing this type of injection for more than one dose or for multiple days, you’ll need to rotate the injection sites. This means that you shouldn’t inject medicine into the same spot twice in a row otherwise the area will bruise.
For example, if you inject medicine into your left thigh this morning, use your right thigh this afternoon. Using the same injection site over and over again can cause discomfort and even tissue damage.
As with any injection procedure, infection at the site of injection is a possibility. Signs of infection at the injection site include:
- severe pain
- warmth or drainage
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